Kyiv. We all make Molotov cocktails

by Anna Korbut for “Muncher Merkur” NR. 53 5/03/2022

Today it sounds like Kyiv is being bombed with cruise missiles. Our air defence is working successfully, I hope there is no danger. I sit and write this text to the sound of sirens. I will go to the shelter only if something starts to explode nearby. I and the residents of the capital got scared this morning on March 4 because of the Russian attack on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. This is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, 6 blocks long, and only idiots could start shooting at it. Because the explosion would have affected not only Ukraine and part of Europe but also part of Russia. Fortunately, the fire only started in the administrative buildings and was extinguished. I, having seen this news, checked the direction of the wind, realized that the cloud of the explosion, if anything, would first fly to Russia and went to bed further. Because after yesterday’s observation of the events in Kharkiv, it was necessary to rest.

Russia mercilessly shoots with Grads and fighters at Mariupol and Kharkiv, because their territory is closer there. Even yesterday the Kharkiv administration was bombed with Kalibr – these are ground-based or surface-based missiles, the way they smashed Aleppo. In Kyiv, air defence works successfully, but sirens still sound often. Impressions of today from the residents of Kyiv:

Nikolai, lecturer at Kyiv Polytechnic University:

We have a constant roar in the north of the city in the area of ​​​​Akademgorodok, missiles fly in, they are shot down by air defence. In addition to the roar of rockets, alarms are constantly triggered on cars around. Some rockets fly almost overhead by sound. What exactly they are launching is not clear, but it looks like Kalibr missiles. Nothing is holding them back, they will run out of Kalibrs, they will start shooting with Escanders. This rocket is much more powerful, such ones have already been sent to Brovary and airports. The diameter of the funnel from such a rocket is about 30 meters. If it enters a residential area, then this is the defeat of several houses. If it enters a house, nothing will be left of the house. Apparently, it was Eskander that was launched in Borodyanka, everything was demolished there. Yesterday, when the warehouse burned down in Chaika, there was a big fire, the building was completely burned down, but there were no casualties.

This morning, the biggest stress was from the bombing of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. The Russian army was born in Africa, and they don’t understand what it threatens? Those who know what happened in Chernobyl must have been frightened.

My friends are all calm about events happening, support each other. Many remained in Kyiv. I am now running to meet my climbing friends, we will go to the railway station and we will seal the windows of the station with tape so that they do not fly out during the explosions. Recently, there was a shooting very close to the train station, despite the fact that there are only women and children inside.”

Together with Nikolai, Nastya goes to seal the windows at the station, they are from the same tourist club.

Nastya, tourist club Globus:

I and other guys from our tourist club came to the station because they needed climbers to seal the windows in case of an explosion. But it turned out that they did not have the materials. Now the guys are pasting the windows with adhesive tape so that the fragments do not fly apart after the explosion. During one day in our tourist club we raised money for special protective nets, but we do not have time to buy them today before the curfew. Tomorrow morning we will go to the Epicenter store and buy nets and attach them to the windows of the station. In total, we plan to buy 900 m2 of protective nets. We have about 10 people from the tourist club doing this now.

There are a lot of explosions at my house, next to Zhitomirskaya metro. We sat in the basement for 4 days in a row, then we decided that it was safe enough in the middle of the house. Now we are sleeping near the elevator in the centre of the building. Threw mats on the floor, put up folding beds. Other tenants live either in the staircase or in the subway. But in the metro there is a problem with hot water, no tea to drink, and there is nowhere to wash. After all, you can’t get hundreds of people drunk with one teapot.”

Even in Kyiv, the shops are running out of food, there are queues behind them. The ATB chain of stores has already closed. Everyone behaves calmly, but they try to replenish household supplies. Volunteers try to organize food delivery for the elderly and those who cannot reach the store. Many volunteers also work in the stores, Vlad helped me pay for the order at the checkout. Very pleasant and with a smile on his face, he joked with other volunteers despite the large flow of people:

Vlad, businessman:

I’m not working here, just decided to come for help, because there were queues of 20 people in the stores. I have experience in retail and I understand how to optimize everything and organize work at the checkouts faster. We have opened additional cash desks, some of them pay only by cards, but it still speeds up the process. I don’t have the guts to sit at home. I don’t want to run away – I’m from Kiev and I’m staying here. In general, I have my own business in the service sector, which is now not relevant because of the war”.

Another woman came to work at the Kulinichi kiosk today. She sits in the shop and waits for the bread to be brought from the factory, which still has one working line. I wanted to buy a cake, one of the three remaining in the window, but she dissuaded me. They have been lying there since the end of February when the war began:

Tatiana, seller:

“I went to work today for free on my own initiative to sell bread to the locals and the military. One line of the plant is still working, now we are waiting for delivery. I don’t like to sit at home, so I go to work even for free. You can wait for bread, but don’t buy cakes, you’ll be poisoned, they are here from February. ”

Everyone tries their best to be helpful. There are a lot of volunteer initiatives for the purchase and delivery of food and medicine to the military and the needy. I personally used the collected money yesterday to buy warm clothes for the Kyiv Territorial Defence. It was a real adventure. The money was sent to me mainly from the Netherlands, I waited a day for bank transactions. I found the car in the chat of volunteers in my area quite quickly, many people wrote to me. Military clothing stores have been closed for a long time because everything is sold out there, but tourist shops are still open. So I could buy some warm closing there. But there were very few things left everywhere, so we collected 30 sets of warm thermal underwear and 10 fleeces in 3 different stores. Luckily, most shops still accept cards, which helps a lot in the case of humanitarian aid. Then we brought clothes to the Territory defence, we were checked several times by checkpoints on the way. Some parts of the city are closed to traffic. In general, I feel secure and happy when I manage to help our people. And don’t want to sit at home too. My driver yesterday was working in the event agency in the life before the war.

Dima, entrepreneur:

“In peacetime, I worked in an event agency. Now I doubt that after the end of the war, corporate events will be relevant. At first, there was confusion in Kyiv, I wanted to help, but it was not clear what to do. Lots of chats, confusion everywhere. Someone organized to volunteer, someone to do creative work. Everyone communicates with everyone, but sometimes fakes get into groups. This state of “what to do where to run” passed, I realized that I can help as a driver and I can coordinate the logistics of other people. This is what I do now. Also I am the head of duty in our house. We are looking for marauders and Russian spies, I hope they won’t wander into our district, but we are ready. Architects, realtors and other civilians are working with me now. Each time, we are getting better and better at organizing ourselves. Last night, just when I was on duty, a rocket flew over us and exploded somewhere nearby. Our house shook even a little.

With my car I help carry medicines and other things. Making Molotov cocktails, getting ready. The tanks haven’t moved in yet, but many people are getting ready just in case. Whether you need these cocktails or not, let there be a supply. Also I will help to create a website for a charitable foundation. I also want to make a website with targeted help and advertising abroad. In aid, targeting is very important, because someone needs to recover, someone needs to go to the army. And on the same site, we want to make reports on what was bought and done.

We stayed, but somebody went to the west. My aunt’s windows in the Golosiivsky district were shattered during the first explosions, they immediately left. Spent the night in an open field, then somehow reached the border. Her husband sent my aunt to Germany, but he himself stayed in Ukraine”.

In general, the whole of Kyiv is mobilized as never before. Those who wanted to leave have already left or are on their way. Those who wanted to stay figured out the communication problems and found their niche where they can help. For some, this is a completely new business, journalists like me work professionally, while others simply help with the delivery or purchase of humanitarian aid. Everyone is making Molotov cocktails. I think the enemy will not enter Kyiv, but if he does, we have something to “treat” him.