Moment is publishing regular updates from Helen, a Soviet American Jew living in Kyiv. Read all the diary entries here.
On Monday October 31, there were explosions in Kyiv.
I heard them, and some of my friends saw the missiles in the sky, from their windows or from the street. Although the Ukrainian air defense destroyed some of them, the missiles damaged critical infrastructure facilities, and at least 350,000 apartments in the capital lost power.
Engineers are working very hard to restore power, but 80 percent of Kyiv’s population were also left without water. We use an app with an electronic map that shows where local residents can stock up on water from nearby pump-rooms and points of sale. According to the City Council announcements, everyone should prepare for long blackouts.
I went to the gym regardless, because they announced that they were open. This Halloween, it had quite a ghostly feel with no electricity or, therefore, music. There were only three instructors and five members. We had a rather quiet pilates class in the central area, because it has huge windows and hence, daylight. After pilates, I went swimming and was the only one in the pool until another fanatic joined me.
It was quite unsettling in the locker room, where gym staff had placed some Christmas tree candles. I showered in complete darkness (luckily there was water, both cold and hot—a wow occurrence nowadays). The only benefit of not having the electricity was the fact that the scale didn’t work.
No one was panicking, although it’s still impossible to comprehend why the civil population is being targeted. And there are more serious consequences than taking a shower in the dark: Many citizens of Kyiv have electric kitchen appliances and can’t cook. Those who have a gas stove host relatives and friends so they can cook, at least for their children.
Flashlights and candles are hard to get. I managed to find some fancy birthday candles online and placed an online order for pickup. When I went to get the candles, the salesperson was flabbergasted by the price. I’d already gotten over the shock and told him that those ones were the cheapest.
Appointments with doctors get canceled and continuously rescheduled, which leads to other cancellations—for instance, many of my students miss their classes. Kind of a mess. I’ve been trying to get my hair cut for two weeks, but the appointment has been canceled five times so far.
Yet, we feel fortunate. We have electricity and cold water, though the internet is on and off, which is a major inconvenience. Quite often we contemplate leaving, but my husband has invested years in his project, which is sponsored by the European Union. Leaving would mean abandoning the project, which is not just the source of income for our family but his employees, some of whom are fighting at the front.
No matter what happens, the nation stays strong and it will prevail.