It is February 25, 2022, in Kyiv. I am sitting by the window of my apartment as I watch a convoy of military vehicles drive by. They are moving alongside the street where I used to jog.
On my way to the metro station, I hear the loud sound of explosions. The incessant boom is audible evidence of fierce fighting taking place in Obolon, a district in northern Kyiv. I can hear from afar the sound of heavy artillery and rockets. I am worried because these types of weapons tend to cause significant harm to civilians when used in urban and populated areas.
I am overwhelmed as many questions pile up in my head. One of them is how it is possible, in this day and age, that a peaceful city like Kyiv finds itself under attack by those we considered to be our neighbors and brothers.
When I enter Syrets metro station, hundreds of people, mostly women and children, are laying on the platform. Many brought their pets with them. Their eyes are filled with pain, yet I can sense their strength and determination. Everyone is sharing food, talking with each other, and checking their cell phones as they search for the latest news and answer messages from concerned friends and relatives.
Areas like Sportyvna square, which are usually full of professionals, shiny cars, advertising boards, friends sipping lattes, and kids listening to music, are now empty. The eerie silence is repeatedly pierced by the sound of air raid sirens.
Suddenly, a man in his forties, walking through the square, breaks the silence. He abruptly stops and starts singing a lovely opera aria. For a brief moment, I no longer heard the terrifying sound of war.
I already know what will happen in Ukraine. The war will kill and injure too many civilians. Women, men, and children will suffer from incalculable mental trauma. The physical and mental pain of war will haunt our country for years to come.
Our suffering should not be ignored. It must be acknowledged, and the perpetrators of war must be held accountable.
Author: A CIVIC ‘s staff member in Kyiv who prefers to keep their identity anonymous for security reasons.