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“In Kiev, perhaps the worst is brewing…”

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Eleventh day, twelfth day? I do not know anymore. The morning routine, checking the messages: ” mine are alive, mine are on the road, mine are safe… “. Sadness reading the messages exchanged with our Russian friends. They tell me that it’s not that serious, that the civilians are spared, that it’s an operation, not a total war… We can no longer understand each other. They were friends.

Bombings everywhere in the East. I am told that 200 buses are blocked in Mariupol. The evacuation route is still the target of heavy fire. The western route from Kiev is now completely cut off. Maybe they don’t want to deliberately kill civilians, in any case, they want to terrorize them. Anxiety of feeling confined. There are plenty of rumors about “green corridors”, but none are open. And besides, where to go? I’m told of an entire family killed in their car in the western suburbs. Impossible to know. It seems that in Hungary, all hotels are free for Ukrainian emigrants and that free meals are offered to them on street corners.

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Anxiety also to be spied on. Not far from my house, an elderly lady saw a – very – big bumblebee flying near her window. She threw a crate of tomatoes at it…and knocked it down. It was a drone! Funny or maybe not. Who knows, maybe she saved someone’s life?

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Already profiteers…

I couldn’t leave my son with my in-laws in the countryside north of Kiev. A cluster bomb fell near their village. The Russians were approaching. And then the checkpoints are getting stronger every day. He couldn’t have come back. Already to go 25 kilometers out of Kiev, it takes three or four hours. I found a guy who knows where the Russians are in this area. He went to get my son. Phew, he is with us. It cost me 200 euros! A substantial sum here. Impossible to take a taxi, ten times the price before! Inside the city, public transport works, routes are respected, timetables are not. We replaced the big ones with small buses, which could no longer pass between the concrete blocks placed everywhere to block the tanks. All the bridges of Kiev, and in particular those which cross the Dnieper, are controlled.

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The town hall asked not to give precise coordinates by telephone. No store, no meeting place, no hospital or medical office. Everyone can be listened to. So we talk in riddles: “You know where we saw each other when we had lunch together…”. Not convenient.

Prices are starting to rise. In some small stalls, the price of water explodes. Already profiteers! More and more often, water bottles are imported. We almost physically feel the international aid. It is said that hundreds of trucks are waiting on the other side of the Polish border. In stores, as I wrote, western products are coming. The pharmacies, which in the first days had lowered the curtain, are reopening a little. So people rush there. Today we stood in line at the pharmacy for four hours. We don’t have all the drugs we wanted, but that’s it. And then one of my cousins, who had emigrated to Israel for years – although he was Catholic – sent us a large quantity of medicine and bandages.

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Defend Kyiv

When there are crowds around basic necessities stores, the police come to maintain calm and avoid provocations. But the atmosphere is rather courteous. We help the elderly, we let women who have children pass.

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My city, Kiev, is the fortress of an independent country, the capital that many generations have built and protected. The shrines are burning, full of prayers and hope. We will defend it. Those who stayed and those, in large numbers, who returned. Over the millennia, the city has experienced various plagues: raids, fires, famine. But perhaps the worst is about to come.

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