‘We woke to sounds of them bombing the airport’ A British-Australian in Kyiv shares his experience of living in Ukraine in the past week


In the past week, the world has witnessed the Russian invasion into Ukraine, which has already claimed the lives of hundreds of civilians and thousands of soldiers. According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, 677,000 people have fled Ukraine since Russia invaded.

TDA spoke to British-Australian Nicholas Stubbins, who is currently living in Ukraine’s capital city of Kyiv.

Day of the invasion

On 24 February, in the early hours of the morning, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced he had ordered troops to enter Ukraine.

Stubbins, like millions of other residents in Kyiv, woke to the sounds of air raid sirens going off and Russian forces hitting the city’s airport with missiles.

“There was quite a lot of panic in the city – there were thousands of people rushing to metros to get on evacuation buses and trains.”

Living in Kyiv

As the days have progressed, Russian forces have attempted to advance on Kyiv.

On the weekend, Ukrainian soldiers appeared to have held off Russian forces from entering Kyiv, with the Mayor claiming there were no Russian troops in the city centre at the time.

However, satellite images taken on Monday showed a convoy of Russian forces, which stretched to over 27 kilometres, moving towards the capital city.

When TDA spoke to Stubbins on Monday, he said the fighting had come within three and a half kilometres of the city the day prior.

Stubbins explained that with the fighting not currently in the city centre, he feels safe and “has a shelter in the basement if anything comes close”.

Stubbins said he has heard artillery fire and strikes in the distance, as well as occasional gunfire, however, said it still felt relatively calm where he is situated. The Ukraine militia are patrolling the streets and saboteurs (Russians disguised as Ukrainians) have entered the city, he explained.

“They’ve set up barricades nearby, in the event that fighting comes to the centre.”

When asked how Ukrainians are currently feeling, Stubbins said: “Everyone seems pretty certain that the Russians will try and take Kyiv, I don’t think anyone is expecting there to be an agreement.”

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