The invasion turned people’s ruby ​​in a second. ČT correspondents describe the Ukrainian experience – ČT24 – Czech Television

“Until the last moment, I probably did not believe that it would be such a large operation that in reality (Russian President) Vladimir Putin would launch it all over Ukrainian territory,” Kubal recalls at the start of the invasion. According to him, due to the closeness and similarity of Ukrainian society, this is the most personal conflict he spoke of during his lifetime.

Szántó, meanwhile, describes one of the strongest moments when one of the men said goodbye to his daughter and wife before the bus left. “They actually just make such hearts and touch each other through glass and they don’t know what’s going to happen in the next few hours.”

Papadopulos, on the other hand, remembers the “calm panic” of Ukrainian women, who pulled long-prepared evacuation baggage out of the cupboards and tried to escape. He also remembers young men “who, five hours after the bombing of kyiv, presented themselves to the Territorial Defense Forces on the streets in makeshift militia stalls”.

The Montenegrin also evokes the fate of many Russian speakers and citizens of the Russian Federation, “who said that for them it was the end of any relationship with Russia”. According to him, the conflict has changed the lives of many people in a second.

“Every day I realize the enormous geographical dimensions of the conflict. On Wednesday we wandered all day on rough roads to Hostomel and further into the countryside northwest of kyiv, and in the evening I looked at the map of the hotel and found that it was just a bit of a huge country “, informs the Ukrainian capital Borek.

Stages of war

The war takes place in stages, says Kubal. According to him, the Montenegrin reported in a situation where kyiv panicked because Russian troops were targeting him and it was unclear where they would stop. According to him, the Ukrainian authorities were not yet ready at that time for foreign journalists to travel to the country to cover the fighting.

The Montenegrin describes that in the capital at the time of his arrival there was uncertainty about the movement of a convoy of Russian military equipment several tens of kilometers long, which kyiv could have surrounded. “People or we woke up every day to a situation where there was talk of the possibility of missile attacks, where there was talk of Russian forces occupying nuclear power plants.”

“But then we saw with our own eyes in the suburbs how the Ukrainian forces can fight the Russians, keep them in the positions where they have actually been all along, and that’s something that gave a person at least a relative certainty that if something was going to happen, so it will not happen in a few hours, it will take a long time and it will be possible to use these escape routes,” Černohorský recalls.

By the time Kubal entered the country, fighting was still going on near the capital, but it was uncertain whether the invading troops would succeed. The attitude of the Ukrainian bureaucracy has also changed.

“It was extremely difficult to get close to the front lines through the Ukrainian authorities and the Ukrainian soldiers. At that time, we were looking for a way to illustrate the conflict”, Kubal describes the difference compared to the phase previous. He most often found the stories he tried to describe near the Ukrainian lines defending the Russian forces.

Papadopoulos, who had not been in any conflict so far, returned to kyiv two days before it was due to start. “I remember this morning when I deliberately went to bed around three o’clock, because there were already reports coming from Donbass, the occupied territories, that the Russian side had used signal jammers there, that they had basically cut off the internet. It was a sign to me that something was going on.”

“That’s why I went to the center of Kyiv after midnight to document the hours and minutes that separated the country from a break. I honestly did not expect the turning point to happen in the center of Kyiv “Recalls the journalist. Twenty minutes after falling asleep, he was awakened by violent knocks – the bombing of the airport of Hostomel.

Black and white conflict

Szántó, on the other hand, is an experienced war correspondent who has found himself in several conflicts. According to him, the war in Ukraine differs from those with which he has personal experience in that it affects the order and functioning of the entire planet.

“It’s a completely black-and-white war, it’s simply a war where one country has opted for a policy confirmed by many elections and another country, unfortunately one of the nuclear powers, has decided that it will not be the case and attacked without any provocation,” comments the former CT Middle East newsletter.

Borek, who documented the massacre of civilians in the Ukrainian town of Bucha, says it was probably the worst thing he had ever seen. “In a way, I academically think that if you see several dozen corpses in a few days, that’s probably the worst thing. But to be honest, I have a professional filter that prevents me from admitting it and to take it too personally.”

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