Behind his sandbags and armed at his feet, Kyiv waits. On the 27th day of the invasion, the advance of Russian troops appeared to be frozen in the northwestern and eastern part of the Ukrainian capital, and again on Tuesday a curfew order was issued.
In the distance the sirens of bombs and explosions sounded at regular intervals, strange battle drums bathed in the ghost town, almost bathed in the spring sun, which illuminates the golden domes of St. Sophia’s Orthodox Cathedral.
All businesses have been closed for this third curfew since the start of the war, which lasted from Monday evening to Wednesday morning. According to the mayor and former world boxing champion Vitaly Klitschko, everyone is at home with orders to “go into shelters when the sirens sound”.
“This is an opportunity for people who have been under constant pressure since the invasion began to breathe a sigh of relief,” said Alexis, a German teacher who led the AFP team in the city before the war. “Anyway, they’m shocked, they do not want to go out …”
Large sections of Kiev’s 3.5 million people, mostly women and children, have fled the capital since the conflict began on February 24. Mainly mobilized men and some elderly people.
The curfew order “is like a break, the temperature is warming,” smiles 29-year-old lawyer Maxim Kostetsky.
“We do not know if the Russians will continue their efforts to encircle the city, but we are very optimistic and morale is high and encouraging,” said one volunteer.
In the deserted streets of the city, blue cars were circling the police, and some military trucks and rare civilian vehicles were occupied by men with weapons or fatigue.
Announce “Russian Army, deceive yourself!”, “Glory to Ukraine” or simply “Stop!”
To the west, north and east of the capital, a corner, a service road or a crossroads, made of metal wires in a star not cut by sandbags or tank hedgehogs.
From the slightest possible axis of fire, trenches and battlefields are set randomly at the base of buildings or in vacant lots.
In the woods on the northern suburbs of the city, people wanted to go for mushrooms on the weekends or eat with their families in the “Rancho El Coucho” like the Dutch, now nothing more than a vast rooted camp where soldiers were buried. ..
The breakdown of a vehicle immediately arouses the suspicious gaze of on-duty soldiers and volunteers, whose fingers are on the trigger and they will not rest if they ask for a password that will allow them to cross roadblocks.
If infiltrated Russian “saboteurs” are less talked about these days, the hunt continues.
After a Russian missile struck an ultra-modern shopping center in the city’s northwest on Sunday evening, ammunition and artillery pieces were concealed, according to Moscow, for fear of spy drones and photos showing social issues on the net. Ukrainian conditions.
Dark black smoke billows in the direction of Irfin, about ten miles northwest, with gunshots. Journalists cannot come to that place now.
“The soldiers know what they have to do, they know their job. There is a reason for this curfew order,” Judge Olga Aliyevska, 38, told him, “the Russians do not want to take Kiev in particular.”
“Their bombings are now aimed at military purposes, and the time has not yet come for civilian bombings,” said a marketing executive based in the city.
In the center of the capital, in the mountains overlooking the Dnieper River, where only two bridges are open to traffic, war is almost a distance away.
At the foot of the walls of the famous monastery of the Kiev Caves, weapons and warriors were very discreet. Ignoring the curfew order, a sexy woman walks with her dogs, as if nothing had happened, on the lawn of the memory of the victims of the Great Famine of the 1930s that dominated the left bank of the Dnieper and its concrete towers.
Sandbag dams have returned to the iconic Ground Square and some of the surrounding streets, where broken cars were abandoned and inadvertently smashed, perhaps at night, by these unexpected obstacles.
“Today we are optimistic, though we have no choice,” Maxim continues. “We are defending our country from someone Vladimir Putin who wants to destroy our country.”