Conflicts & War

Ukrainians who fled Kyiv return in droves despite warnings

By Carles Grau Sivera

Kyiv, Apr 14 (EFE).- The main road entering this capital from the west was jammed Thursday as residents who fled Kyiv following the start of the Russian invasion on Feb. 24 decided to return despite warnings from Ukrainian officials that the city remains under threat.

“It’s time to go home,” Ludmila told Efe from a car packed with the family’s belongings.

The April 2 pullback of the Russian forces that had surrounded the capital prompted Ludmila and her parents to abandon their temporary refuge in the western city of Lviv, near the Polish border.

“The (Easter) holidays are approaching and we have to make preparation,” she said. “Besides, we have a small plot of land and the (planting) season is beginning.”

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko made an appeal Thursday for residents who fled to delay their return.

“We cannot ban them in this regard, but can only advise them not to return to the city yet. In the current situation, it is not worth returning to the city. Because public transport does not work, inspections are carried out at every post,” the former heavyweight boxing champion said.

On Wednesday, the Russian military said that it may respond to further Ukrainian attacks or sabotage inside Russia by targeting “command centers” in Kyiv.

But Valeria, an elderly woman returning to Kyiv after an absence of four weeks, told Efe that the situation “is not as dangerous as they say.”

“We return because we trust in our victory,” she said from her car.

More than half of Kyiv’s roughly 3 million inhabitants left in the early days of the Russian offensive, according to authorities, and the mayor estimates that around two-thirds of those who fled have already come back. EFE cgs/dr

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