Ukraine’s capital Kiev keeps calm and carries on with daily life as Russia closes in – Reuters


Ukraine’s capital, Kiev, is still bustling with regular daily life despite the advance of 126,000 Russian troops gathered along the country’s eastern flank.

There were few signs of civilians preparing for the invasion

As hundreds of thousands of Russian troops close in on Ukraine, the capital Kiev is still bustling with regular daily life.

Civilians go about their daily business seemingly unconcerned or clearly concerned by events on the Donbass front line 800 kilometers to the east.

Neither the somber sounds of mortar bombs and artillery nor the frightening running from building to building to avoid snipers is needed on these streets.

But the air of normality makes it hard to believe that 126,000 Russian troops are gathered along Ukraine’s eastern flank – or that as many as 80,000 pro-Russian forces are camped in northern Belarus.

However, the death toll remains a stark reminder of the potential threat to life.

To date, 14,000 people have been killed in fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists.

But Kiev’s iconic Maidan Square, where the revolution moving towards Europe and away from Russia began in late 2013, was operating as usual yesterday.

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Roman Kifliuk, 45, from Kyiv, says people are ‘tough’


Andy Commins/Daily Mirror)

Cafes, bars and shops were full of people and there was little sign of civilians preparing for the invasion.

Local resident Roman Kifliuk, 45, married with two children, said: “People are tough and tend not to think about what can happen if Russia comes.

“Unless you’re from the east or connected to the military in some way, you don’t know there’s a war because it’s so far away.

“Also, many Ukrainians here know that they can’t do much about the situation, maybe they can’t afford to store food or flee.

To date, 14,000 people have been killed in fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists


Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

“So they are carrying on as usual because they are used to the pressure from Russia and the threat from their leaders. What else can they do?

“That’s how they feel. Nobody wants it to happen, but they can’t stop it.”

Russian tanks could cross the Belarusian border and encircle the capital within days, bombarding government buildings, which could also face vicious airstrikes from Russian warplanes.

But last night in Kyiv, all restaurants, cafes and bars were still open despite this potential threat.

Kseniia Polenskiya, a secretary, said: “Nobody knows what will happen, so why change our way of life?

“A lot of my friends discussed leaving and heading west, but most stayed.

“It’s either because they can’t afford to go, or it’s impossible to predict what’s going to happen.

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“It means we don’t know where to go and we will have to react if something happens.

“Russia has been threatening us for some time now, so we are used to it.

“The problem with that is that it means there’s kind of a way of thinking that maybe it won’t happen.

“And that means we have a false sense of security and a lot of people are unaware of the threat.

“But many people are also waiting until the last minute to move, which means an evacuation could lead to congested roads and last-minute panic.”

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Christi C. Elwood