Home LATEST NEWS Flee or stay? Ukrainians testify | War in Ukraine

Flee or stay? Ukrainians testify | War in Ukraine


YANA ZYMA, 26 years old

Yana Zyma fled the city of Kiev, Ukraine, to cross the Romanian border.

Yana Zyma fled the city of Kiev, Ukraine, to cross the Romanian border.

Photo: Photo provided

When we first spoke to Yana at the start of the week, she was on the exodus road in a giant traffic jam, on the way to the Romanian border, then, she hoped, to Poland.

For 30 hours in her car with hundreds of vehicles pressed bumper to bumper, Yana tried not to let herself be defeated. Some make the journey on foot, she pointed out.

The 20-year-old, who works for an agri-food company, fled with members of her family and a colleague. She’s not moving very fast. That night we drove maybe 200 meters. It was then barely two kilometers from the border post of Siret, a crossing point between Ukraine and north-eastern Romania.

Despite the shock, the young woman describes a supportive atmosphere, with people offering free sandwiches and hot meals to drivers.

On the first day of the Russian invasion last Thursday, Yana did not hesitate. In the morning at five o’clock, colleagues called me to tell me that the war had started. I packed up and left.

His friends who stayed had to spend nights in bomb shelters.

I’m afraid for my family and I’m on my phone all day with friends, colleagues »

A quote from Yana Zyma

Fortunately, her neighborhood was not too affected by the war, she points out, but friends of hers were not so lucky. Russia said it would only fire at military targets, but that’s not true. They shoot at nurseries, houses, medical centers… People have lost their homes.

When we spoke to her again two days later, Yana had finally crossed the Romanian border and was on her way to Hungary. She will have spent a total of 48 hours, stuck in this traffic jam near the border. And it rolls again, always towards the west.

ANDRY MALIUK, 38 years old

Andry Maliuk has decided to stay in Kiev, his city.

Andry Maliuk decided to stay in Kiev, his city, during the Russian invasion.

Photo: TurnedNews.com

Andry decided to stay in Kiev. Every day everything goes to a crescendo, tells us the French teacher at the Left Bank Institute. He speaks to us from the friends’ apartment where he moved on the first day of the war.

I didn’t think that one day I would be able to experience all that, gradually get used to anti-aircraft alerts, not be shocked by the sounds of shootings, but also see examples of true solidarity. »

A quote from Andry Maliuk

Andry Maliuk learned how to fill white bags with sand to erect barricades. He now knows what it’s like to be a few meters from a shooting while waiting in line for five hours to enter a supermarket. He had to take refuge under a load-bearing wall to take shelter from the bombs… All of the moments that he describes as surreal.

We live to the rhythm of alerts and calms. But we are very worried seeing how the occupiers bombard the surroundings of Kyivhe wrote to us again on Wednesday, the day after our first interview, when the capital was surrounded by Russian forces.

When thousands of Ukrainian civilians fled the Russian invasion to try to reach Poland or Romania, Andry made the choice to stay and does not regret it. This is my city, this is my country. Me, I studied in France, but I returned to Ukraine. If everyone leaves, it will be easier for the Russians to take [la ville]. They want to take our country, our city.

Resistance is to stay.

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