Glacial. What a night like in the kyiv metro

Dorohozichi metro station in northern Kyiv looks more or less like any metro station in Prague. However, after the invasion of the Russian occupying forces, the local vestibule became a large hostel. On average, about two hundred people spend the night there for almost a month. They’re afraid to bomb at home, so here they are. They have mats, blankets and inflatable mattresses on the floor. There are also several tents. During the day, one subway runs, the other is parked in the lobby, and people camp there.

“Most of us have been here since the beginning of the war. We know each other a lot at that time. We are like neighbours,” says 27-year-old Taria Blaževičová, who came here from Kharkov after the Russian invasion. a green tent to the right of the escalators and sleeps there with two sons. They celebrated two birthdays here. His twenty-seventh and Yuri’s sixth. “He certainly won’t forget this celebration,” he says humorously, pointing to the flowers behind the tent.

A little further on, women from three generations are lying on a colorful bushy blanket. “We live not far from here, in a building on the twelfth floor, but we are afraid of being hit by a rocket, so we prefer to spend the nights and mornings here”, explains the 25-year-old nurse. . Three-year-old Nataša is happy to build a Lego house. Aren’t they cold on this cold granite floor? “We got used to it during those four weeks. It was worse,” said Katja, 62.

It’s half past six in the evening. Dinner and movie time. The white wall at the end of the hall is illuminated by the spotlight. A cartoon fairy tale is projected. Young children bring camping chairs, mats and settle down. But it won’t last them long. He prefers running around information boards or otherwise licking. They are dressed in low chairs, winter jackets and hats. Older children play on the tablet. And the teenagers? They secretly embrace in the dark corners of the platform. The carefree laughter of children echoes in the metro.

A long line of adults lined the hall. They are worried. They stare at their cell phones in silence, patiently waiting for Kolya to turn on three electric grills and serve them delicious hot dogs. All homemade. Kolja works at the Mr. Grill restaurant, which, like most restaurants in kyiv, is currently closed. “Should I have just sat around in the heat at home watching the trigger around and doing nothing? No. Now we all have to help each other the best we can. And I can make great hot dogs,” he just boasts. “They are delicious”, praise the boarders.Several times a week, Kolya makes the rounds of the metro stations and accommodates those who sleep there for fear of the bombardments.

In the middle of the hall is a large airport with inflatable lounge chairs. On it rest Oleana, thirty-three, and Nina, sixty. Balů and Suzi’s cats spill into their arms. They too would rather be here than on the fifteenth floor of a tower not far from here. “I’ll say it honestly. I’m scared to death. I’m scared we’ll be unlucky and they’ll bomb our house,” banker Oleana says. Blankets, food, drinks, food for cats, books. They have everything they need. “We think we’ll be here another month,” they say, but shrug their shoulders.

Before eight o’clock in the evening, before the curfew, more people arrive. They are stored on the ground, on benches or in wagons. Today, it is estimated that one hundred and fifty of us will sleep here. The vast majority of women and children. And a dozen dogs and twice as many cats.

Take a look at the Kyiv Metro photo gallery:

The toilets are inside the subway. At the very least, it doesn’t smell there. With so many people, it’s not surprising, but the men’s squat toilets are clean. After all, there is order everywhere. This is carefully taken care of here.

Half past ten in the evening. Kolya finished the last hot dog. He washes the grates and prepares them for the next day’s station at another subway station. “I did 280 today,” he says proudly.

Children put on warm pajamas and snuggle up in sleeping bags and blankets. Fairy tales can be heard from some tents. Adults always wise. Taria is walking on the dock, she can’t sleep. She thinks of her mother, who has cancer, needs chemotherapy and does not know what care she will receive in the current state of war. Oleksander, 33, thinks of his parents from the town of Vinice between Lviv and kyiv. This is where the sirens warn of a possible air attack. The lobby won’t be quiet until about two o’clock in the morning. All you can hear is snoring, occasional child sobbing and coughing. The metro sleeps peacefully.

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