What It Was Like When Russia Attacked Ukraine

Underground I discovered Pete Kiehart, a photographer working with BuzzFeed Information, and Isobel Koshiw, a fixer and reporter on our crew. They’d gathered their issues and have been already scanning information stories and social media to see what was unfolding. It was jarring to see them there, having spent the earlier night celebrating reporting week with cocktails and steaks. Earlier than handing over and since I had used up all my reporter’s notebooks, I visited a stationery store, the place a younger lady pleaded together with her mom to purchase her a pen with a teddy bear on it.

It was the final regular factor I keep in mind experiencing earlier than the bombs went off.

In a video carried by Russian state-run tv and shared extensively throughout social media, Putin introduced {that a} navy operation was underway to pressure the Ukrainian authorities to give up management to him. In a short time we realized that missile strikes have been being launched on strategic navy installations throughout the nation — from japanese Kharkiv to western Ivano-Frankivsk to central Uman — and the size of Putin’s invasion grew to become terrifyingly clear.

By noon, the casualties have been piling up. Among the many first to be killed was a younger boy. A lady simply using a bicycle down the road was additionally killed. And there have been many extra Ukrainian civilians and troops killed. Thursday night time, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated not less than 137 Ukrainians had been killed to this point within the Russian invasion, together with each civilian and navy casualties.

Ukrainians I’d interviewed and buddies I’ve revamped greater than a decade of dwelling and dealing right here frantically known as and despatched texts asking for info and recommendation. The place was it secure to be? What was going to occur? When would it not be over? Unable to offer them with ample solutions, I felt fully ineffective.

On the nation’s industrial japanese steppe, the place a capturing battle has simmered for eight years, within the capital, Kyiv, with its golden-domed monasteries and cobblestone streets, and within the pastoral west close to the border of Poland and the European Union, black plumes of smoke stuffed the sky, every a mark of Putin’s hatred towards Ukraine.

The nation was on hearth.

A defiant Zelensky declared martial regulation and ordered the nation’s armories open to “all patriots” prepared to defend freedom and democracy towards tyranny and terrorism.

By dusk, it was unclear how issues would end up. An unknown variety of Ukrainians sought security in bomb shelters created after World Conflict II that no person ever thought they would want to make use of. And the combating raged on.

In an indication that maybe the tide might flip in Ukraine’s favor, the navy managed to retake the management of the Hostomel Airport, the place earlier within the day 34 assault helicopters swooped in from throughout the border and dropped off Russian forces simply quarter-hour from Kyiv.

Someplace close to the capital, although, the thuds of artillery might nonetheless be heard, suggesting one other lengthy, sleepless night time.

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