Witnessing Kyiv Under Attack This Morning
By Steve Richards
As I visit Ukraine during the holidays and premiere my new documentary for Bucha next Friday I thought I was just going to send out an update today of a post from earlier this year about how nice Kyiv was. All about how pleasant it is here; how everything is open and how nicely people seem to be getting along. Going to work, shopping, eating out. There's solid power, cell service, and wi-fi. Most of all it was about how Kyiv had obviously adjusted to this war. All of which is true. (Hello from Kyiv! Wish You Were Here)
If anything, I didn’t realize just how well.
Missile strikes woke up this city after a night filled with air raid sirens, which I largely slept through. I personally witnessed two explosions clearly visible from my room about a mile or so from the hotel. It totally freaked me out and it didn’t take me long to find the bomb shelter after ignoring so many air raid sirens in the past. This is my third visit since March 2022 and the first explosion I have witnessed personally.
The first blast shortly before 8 AM got me out of my seat and to the window where I could see smoke rising from behind St. Sophia’s Cathedral a kilometer away. At that moment I collected myself enough to begin shooting footage from my 11th floor window overlooking Independence Square. The second explosion rocked the city just before I hit the record button fireball and all. If you watch the video clip you can still hear the explosion echoing through the city as I just missed filming the blast. The smoke plumes are clearly visible and in more than one spot. Fortunately injuries were few.
Apparently, there was a “massive missile strike” this morning on targets all over Ukraine. Also reported is that all the missiles targeting Kyiv were intercepted. What I witnessed was debris falling to the ground. It would appear that unexploded war heads count as “debris”.
It is impossible for Americans to relate to such things though we are used to things that would make Ukrainians shudder like mass shootings. The idea of a missile strike on the USA by Russia – or any other country - is unthinkable, except to nuclear war planners that started preparing for Russian ICBM strikes in the 1950’s. Those plans are still in effect as Russian warheads are still pointed at us.
But what is most intriguing for a guy like me is how nonchalant Kyiv’s citizens are to such attacks. They are so used to it. Nothing closed down though the hotel staff did go to the bomb shelter for 30 minutes or so. But when it was over they all got back to work.
The net effect on my day? A breakfast appointment got pushed back an hour or so due to traffic tie ups as did my appointment with the barber. By the time I left my hotel at lunchtime the smoke plumes were gone.
That’s it. Like nothing happened. People about their business.
As Julia said in Back to Bucha reflecting the spirit of all Ukrainians living through this war: “You really do get used to anything.”