Kyiv, Mar 5 (EFE).- Russian forces have not yet stormed into Kyiv, but residents of the Ukrainian capital have been living under siege since Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered his troops into Ukraine 10 days ago.
“If we all flee, who is going to defend our homeland, our land, our family?” Tatiana, a mother of four, tells Efe.
Seeing families with children on the streets of Kyiv has become a rarity since the Russian invasion began on February 24.
But the Lesik family has decided to go out for a short walk in their neighborhood under the watchful eyes of armed Ukrainian soldiers ready to fight Russian forces.
“We have educated our children to be united, because we can only win this war and defeat the enemy if we are united, one for all and all for one,” says Tatiana.
Tatiana’s husband Alexandr admits he and his family are afraid, but is convinced they have done the right thing by staying.
“We have to defend the city. If it is necessary, we will fight,” he tells Efe.
Olga, a military psychologist, has also decided to stay in Kyiv to help soldiers deal with the psychological stress of war.
“Psychologically, they (the soldiers) seem to be in high spirits. The truth is on our side. I am a Kyivite and we will not let anyone in,” she says.
Olga is also helping distribute food to families who, like her, have decided to stay.
“My parents live on the outskirts of Kyiv and my daughter has also been sent away for safety,” she says.
Svetlana has also stayed, but since the invasion began, she decided to leave her house and live in the Monastery of St. Theodosius, where she feels better protected.
“It’s impossible to fall asleep. Every night we end up sleeping in the catacombs,” she says.
In bed, she has a backpack ready with a blanket, a bottle of water, a flashlight, a phone and a charger.
But not all Kyiv residents have stayed by choice.
Oxana has been forced to stay in the capital after her hometown, Hostomel, some 30 kilometers outside Kyiv, has been invaded by Russian forces.
“I can’t get out of here. I live with my daughter and cat,” she laments to Efe.
Oxana works in a public pharmacy, but since the invasion began, she has not received stock.
“Look at my shelves, they are empty. The private pharmacies are fully stocked, but they haven’t opened for days,” she says. EFE