Kyiv, Apr 4 (EFE).- Some 15,000 Kyiv residents sought refuge in the city’s metro network when the Ukrainian capital was under heavy Russian bombardment and although the invading forces have now withdrawn from the region, around 4,000 continue to shelter underground because they do not trust Russia’s intentions.
“We stay here, we prefer to be in the subway until things are cleared up because we don’t know what can happen,” says Svitlana, 62.
“Look at everything that happened, we can’t trust Russia,” she adds as she sits on a mat with her pregnant daughter, Anna.
Svitlana, Anna and her husband have taken shelter at the Heroyiv Dnipra station in northern Kyiv since the second day of the war.
“We heard the explosions almost every second. You could see the tanks approaching and missiles falling almost every second. They were only three kilometers from home,” Svitlana explains.
“At first, it was too crowded; we didn’t even have space to sleep. Now there are much fewer people, many have returned home and others come only to sleep at night,” she points out.
Her 27-year-old daughter is making efforts to normalize life in the metro so that the war anxiety does not affect her baby, a boy she plans to name Danilo or Mark.
“We cannot make concrete plans, we decide day by day depending on how things evolve,” says Anna.
At the start of the war, Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko encouraged all citizens to take refuge in subway stations, which were designed in 1960 during the Cold War and are one of the capital’s safest places.
The 67-kilometer network has three lines and 52 stations, all of them prepared for civil defense and with essential infrastructure in place.
While the city gradually returns to normal, “the subway will resume its activity as citizens demand it, but it will also continue to function as a refuge because many people still do not feel safe outside,” Viktor Brahinsky, the Kyiv metro director, tells Efe. EFE