Most of the people who lived in Ukraine’s second largest city, Kharkiv, have abandoned Kharkiv’s streets and thoroughfares.
At least half a million people fled the area under constant shellfire with their valuable possessions in a bag. Many cars were abandoned in the streets surrounding the central station.
Those who are left must hide in shadows. Some now live underground.
Metro stations were transformed into shelters with abandoned train carriages being used as temporary homes.
The most important developments of today:
* Despite Russia’s requests, Ukraine refused to leave Mariupol. A curfew of 40 hours has been declared in Kyiv.
* Kremlin states that more progress is needed in peace negotiations before Putin and Zelenskyy meet face-toface
* The Ukrainian nuclear regulatory agency has announced that the radiation monitors near Chernobyl have been disabled
Russia claimed that it attacked a Kyiv shopping center because it was being used for rocket storage
Ukraine war updates: Russia and US relations “on the brink of collapse“
Greg Korup, a man working on his laptop on a train carriage at platform 2, was our encounter.
The station has been home to him and his family for the past three weeks. He told us that the arrangement was beneficial.
He said, “I’m a business analyst.” “My clients are located in Canada and the United States. With a laptop, I can work wherever I like.
“Even in a metro carriage in Kharkiv?” I was curious.
He chuckled, “Yep. It’s mine office.”
Iryna, his partner, told me that their flat is on the second floor of their building. As the Russians launch rockets and shells into the city, it feels too risky to stay at home.
“How do I feel about having to live down here?” I was curious.
She said, “At first it was really terrible, because this isn’t a normal situation.”
Greg said, “After a week we felt much better.” “When we heard something explode, we ran down to the metro station. But now, it’s like, “What was that?” It is only shooting. It’s not dangerous down there.”
We met Natalya Chernobay on the adjacent platform. She has been having a difficult time in the last few weeks.
Two days after the invasion began, she went into labor. The fighting was “blasting above our heads”.
She said, “I was taken down to the basement (of maternity hospital), and I was lying down at the beginning. But when they started giving birth, they had to take my upstairs.” “This is where my birth took place. It was very hot outside.
The next three days she spent in the basement, before a woman from hospital brought her and her baby boy, Bohdan, to the station. It is unsafe to live at home.
More From Kharkiv:
* Russia is accused of refusing repatriation for dead soldiers after chaotic shelling in Kharkiv
* Man escapes from rubble-strewn tomb, after being trapped under debris for hours during the Kharkiv missile attack
The metro station is not ideal.
She said, “It is very difficult for me to look after the baby here.” “My mom and I need to ask the station master for help in getting him washed. It’s very annoying. It is very inconvenient.
They now live in the last car on platform 2, with warm clothing and a cot provided by volunteers.
It is, however, the last place she wants.
She said, “It is impossible for me to breathe in here.” There is a lot dust. The baby is constantly sneezing. Everyone is constantly coughing. We want to go home because of this.
“Just before the war, on the 23 Feb, my husband assembled the cot and we prepared everything for the baby. The next morning, I was awakened by the sound of shelling.
Her husband is fighting in the Ukrainian army.
“I fear that even if I get out of this place, I will not be able walk the streets unassisted.”
“I’ll be constantly looking behind me, and I’ll even get scared by fireworks. It’s quite scary.
Kharkiv is the heart of war. Those who are left must find a way to survive.