Feb twenty fourth 2022
Last night time I cooked borscht for some associates. It was tasty. My visitors – a number of journalists and the Brazilian ambassador – scraped their bowls. I joked about it being “the final borscht in Kyiv”. At 5 o’clock this morning, that stopped being a joke.
The explosions woke me up. My spouse and I counted three of them. I knew instantly that this was the start of the warfare. They had been distant, however I remembered listening to that sound in 2015 in Donbas (the japanese area of Ukraine the place the federal government has been preventing Russian-backed forces for the previous few years). I would thought this warfare would come – however on the similar time, I hadn’t actually believed it. Now I understand how the Soviets felt in 1941, being woken by explosions when Hitler attacked.
We had breakfast. I made wheat porridge with truffle oil
I regarded out of the window as I made tea. Our condominium is in the course of the outdated metropolis, and I noticed two girls strolling their canine on the road, and street sweepers clearing the pavement outdoors our constructing. However there have been virtually no automobiles, regardless that it was rush hour.
My spouse and I talked about what to do. Now we have a home within the countryside which we have stored heated all through the winter in case we needed to flee there, however we had been nervous about getting caught in site visitors. So we had breakfast. I made wheat porridge with truffle oil.
While we had been consuming we heard extra explosions, louder this time. (We later came upon they had been Russian missiles falling on one other a part of Kyiv, in addition to the suburbs.) We opened the door of our condominium to seek out our neighbors on the steps. “There shall be a bombing!” they known as to us. “Go right down to the bomb shelter!” Kyiv is stuffed with bomb shelters, most of them constructed in the course of the Fifties and Sixties when individuals had been nervous that NATO may assault.
We took bread, cheese and a bottle of water from our condominium and went out searching for the closest shelter. As we walked, my spouse requested nervously: “How do they know that we are going to be bombed?” She nonetheless did not need to imagine it may occur.
On the road we ran right into a pal who advised all of us go to the Radisson Lodge: “They will not shoot there, there are overseas journalists,” she mentioned. We sat on chairs within the resort foyer and caught our breath. There have been certainly many journalists within the lobby and several other teams with tv cameras. We spent half an hour there earlier than deciding to depart once more. I known as a pal whose workplace is near our home, and he invited us to pop in: he had a shelter within the basement of the constructing, he mentioned.
Our tour to the bomb shelter, which hadn’t been repaired for 50 years, wasn’t very nice. On the plus aspect there was a rest room and a washbasin. However it was additionally near a Ukrainian navy headquarters, so there was probability that the subsequent Russian missile would land there.
Finally we went dwelling once more. Our pal introduced tape and commenced to stay it diagonally on the home windows to cease the glass shattering if there was an enormous shock. I checked by the newest official statements from the federal government and the mayor of Kyiv. It was clear by then that the assault was being waged on a number of fronts, and a bunch of tanks had crossed into the Kyiv area from Belarus. I do not understand how far they have and whether or not anybody can cease them. I actually hope so.
It’s nonetheless quiet outdoors my condominium, you simply see the occasional particular person carrying a suitcase down the road. Supermarkets are open, however most pharmacies are closed. I’ve heard there are queues outdoors pet-food outlets. Varied associates have known as and requested what they need to do, however I haven’t got something to advocate. I do not even know what to do myself. I am simply ready for this to finish. I assume I am ready for a miracle. Possibly within the night I will have extra concepts. Or tomorrow.
Our pal started to stay tape on the home windows to cease the glass shattering if there was a shock
Some persons are deciding meet-up factors to allow them to keep in contact with their household if the telephone strains and web go down. My one supply of reduction is that yesterday our grown-up youngsters lastly left for Lviv in western Ukraine. They’ve talked about going for months. Though Lviv was additionally shelled at the moment, Russian troops are unlikely to go there.
Now we’re planning for them to get overseas. The concept is for them to depart through Poland and go to Warsaw, then fly to London. They’re British residents. I’m a citizen of Ukraine. So for now I am staying right here. ■
Andrey Kurkov is a Ukrainian novelist. His novels embrace “Dying and the Penguin”
PHOTOGRAPHS: RON HAVIV