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HomeNewsTerrified Ukrainians detail ‘horrible’ Kyiv conditions, fear Putin won’t stop there

Terrified Ukrainians detail ‘horrible’ Kyiv conditions, fear Putin won’t stop there


One frightened resident of Ukraine’s capital fears Russian President Vladimir Putin won’t stop his all-out assault at Eastern Europe and wants to take over the world.

Galina — a retired engineer living in central Kyiv with her 75-year-old husband — detailed the “horrible situation” unfolding there during an exclusive interview with The Post, saying the couple awoke to huge explosions early Thursday.

“In our city, there are other explosions, but we don’t hear them now,” said the 73-year-old, who declined to provide her last name out of fear of reprisal from Russian troops.

“Everything is closed. The streets are empty. I have food for maybe two days, but what happens after that?”

Galina said she and her husband expected Putin’s aggression to escalate, but not to the level of a three-pronged assault bent on toppling Ukraine’s government.

“We elderly people, we are staying home,” Galina told The Post. “We don’t have anywhere to go. The government told us to go to a nearby bomb shelter if anything.”

Residents across Kyiv, a city of approximately 2.8 million people, are already being asked to donate blood for wounded troops, she said.

Ukrainian resident Galina
Kyiv resident Galina says she and her husband only have food to last “maybe two days,” as the Russian invasion begins.
Provided photo

“Many people are leaving, they are at their [country houses],” Galina continued. “It’s a horrible situation here.”

Galina called on President Biden to live up to his promise to heavily sanction Russia following the assault.

“They were all lies, since now there is silence,” she said before Biden announced new sanctions and export restrictions against Moscow. “Where are the sanctions? Where is America? Where is Europe? Everyone forgot about us. People are dying.”

Military recruiters in Ukraine have reported “lines of people” queueing up, Galina said, including the husband of a friend in his early 60s.

“They took him because he can shoot,” she said. “Everyone is going. My other friend got into his car and drove to the border [to fight].”

But Galina was most dismayed by Russian forces taking over the decommissioned Chernobyl nuclear power plant, where the world’s worst nuclear disaster occurred in 1986.

“There are militants at Chernobyl holding the staff hostage,” Galina said. “If they blow up Chernobyl, it will be a worldwide catastrophe.”

A Ukrainian police officer patrols around a group of people waiting to board a train out of Kostiantynivka in eastern Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022.
A Ukrainian police officer patrols around a group of people waiting to board a train out of Kostiantynivka in eastern Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022.
AP
A woman with her baby runs to board a Kyiv bound train in Kramatorsk, eastern Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022.
A woman with her baby runs to board a Kyiv-bound train in Kramatorsk, eastern Ukraine, on Feb. 24, 2022.
AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda

Galina also believes Putin has military ambitions beyond Ukraine.

“He’s not going to stop at Ukraine,” she said. “He wants the whole world, like Napoleon. It seems that Europe and the United States hid their heads in the sand like ostriches, while the plague takes over the whole world.”


Get the latest updates in the Russia-Ukraine conflict with the Post’s live coverage.


Another Kyiv resident told The Post Thursday that he fled the city amid the “unfolding catastrophe” earlier this week and is buckled down in the Ivano-Frankivsk region in western Ukraine.

People waiting for a Kyiv bound train walk to a platform in Kramatorsk, the Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022. Russia launched a wide-ranging attack on Ukraine on Thursday, hitting cities and bases with airstrikes or shelling, as civilians piled into trains and cars to flee. Ukraine's government said Russian tanks and troops rolled across the border in a “full-scale war” that could rewrite the geopolitical order and whose fallout already reverberated around the world.
Kyiv resident Galina blasted the US and European countries for ignoring Ukraine’s bombardment by Russia.
AP
People board a Kyiv bound train on a platform in Kramatorsk, the Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022.
President Biden has promised that Russian President Vladimir Putin “will bear the consequences” of waging war in Ukraine with more economic sanctions.
AP
An elderly lady holds a pet carrier while waiting for a Kyiv bound train on a platform in Kramatorsk, the Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022.
Kyiv resident Galina says elderly people in the besieged city of Ukraine “don’t have anywhere to go.”
AP

“I’m somewhat safe, but given the queues on the borders, I will not even try,” the 40-year-old, who declined to be identified, said of the prospect of leaving his homeland entirely. “Long lines in the shops, and with cars trying to buy fuel.”

The man previously foresaw the worst-case scenario of a Russian invasion taking shape and told others to make arrangements to flee the city, he said.

“Some followed my advice,” he told The Post.

A woman reacts as she waits for a train trying to leave Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022.
Kyiv resident Galina is worried that the Ukrainian military has begun to recruit elderly people to fight Russia.
AP
Kyiv resident Galina claims the majority of people have abandoned their homes hoping to escape Russia’s invasion.
Kyiv resident Galina claims the majority of people have abandoned their homes, hoping to escape Russia’s invasion.
AP

If the Ukrainian did ultimately leave the country, Poland would be his likely destination. Short of that, the unmarried, childless correspondent said he intended to ask friends to host him for the time being.

“And then,” he added, “US, the Netherlands, Canada … depending how the situation unfolds … It’s much more tough for family people.”

As for Putin, the Ukrainian said the Russian leader clearly wants to overthrow the government and install a puppet regime.

Family members embrace one another while waiting to board a train out of Kostiantynivka in eastern Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022.
Family members embrace one another while waiting to board a train out of Kostiantynivka in eastern Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022.
AP
A couple kiss goodbye before the woman boards a bus out of Kyiv, Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022.
A couple kiss goodbye before the woman boards a bus out of Kyiv, Ukraine, on Feb. 24, 2022.
AP

“Russia is trying … to make us a non-sovereign state – a colony, like in USSR,” he told The Post while leaving a harrowing message for loved ones. “Sorry that I disappear, relatives, friends.”

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