Residents of Ukraine’s capital Kyiv are adjusting to the monotonous routine of subway shelters

KYIV (REUTERS) – With the sirens of air raids and the thud of explosions now a familiar nighttime sound to Kyiv residents, more and more people have taken refuge in the city’s deep underground metro stations, battling against boredom while waiting for the sequel.

Although Kyiv has so far been spared the intense shelling seen in cities like Kharkiv or Mariupol, authorities say at least 60 civilians have been killed in the capital since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine. February 24.

Pre-dawn explosions, audible throughout the city, have become a common part of life, with debris from missile strikes destroying dozens of residential buildings and making normal life impossible.

Architect Natalia Nochevchuk, who has taken refuge in the city’s Syrets metro station since the first day of the war, said she has been dividing her time between her house and the metro for more than three weeks.

“Sometimes I go to my apartment to shower and cook but for the night I always go back to the shelter because it’s definitely one of the safest places to sleep.”

The Kremlin has repeatedly denied targeting civilians in what it calls a ‘special military operation’, while Ukraine has accused Russian forces of committing war crimes by deliberately bombing areas residential.

With Russian forces massed outside Kyiv, long lines of cars have left the city in recent weeks, leaving streets eerily quiet as thousands joined an exodus that has seen at least three million Ukrainians flee their country.

For those who have held on, the metro offers at least the assurance of a good night’s sleep.

At Les Syrets station, reduced underground services still cross the station but the platform has been transformed by tents and improvised bedding with families settling in night after night, sometimes accompanied by their pets.

Christi C. Elwood