While the horror of war continues in Ukraine, Kyiv, the country’s capital, is experiencing a period of calm. The city is liberated from Russian troops and the bombardments have ceased. A calm that allows a return to normality. There, the locals are back and the shops are gradually reopening.
The kyiv region is freed from Russian troops, night air alerts and daily bombardments which have ceased. For two or three weeks, the wind of war has swirled around the Ukrainian capital and the inhabitants are returning. Customers are returning to stores and restaurants, not all of which are open yet. The traffic timidly reappeared. Life resumes despite the war that continues in the country.
“Life is slowly coming back but it is coming back”
On the west bank of the Dnieper, Romain, manager of a bar, has just relaunched his activity. “The first day, there were maybe ten customers. Yesterday, they were fifty. There are more people” declares Romain at the microphone of Europe 1. In the north-west of the city, a clothing store of sport has been open for five days.
“Life is slowly coming back. Before the war, we had a passage of five hundred people a day in the store. There, it’s a hundred, but people are buying. Life is slowly coming back, but it’s coming back,” said a passerby.
Self-service bicycles have returned to the sidewalks. The total anarchy of traffic without rules becomes dangerous with the return of large numbers of vehicles. “Every day, there are more people. It shows in the parking lot. When we came back, there were three cars at the bottom of the building and there, there are more” explains a woman.
“Far from the city, I had more trouble”
In the east bank of kyiv, Liena returned more than three weeks ago with her husband and three daughters. She is more reassured being in kyiv. “The situation is under control. Here the children are playing and the shops are open. The fighting is far away. Far from the city, I had more trouble because I only saw the terrible images that are shown. And then , there’s work too. That’s also why I came back,” she explains.
At the western exit of kyiv, in Ticino, Vitali and Evguenia are also back with their two sons. For them, internal exile was becoming unbearable. “At the beginning, you squat with someone for a few days, then it becomes two weeks with the children. We understood that this could not continue and we simply came back to the house for a few days” explains Evgenia.
They finally decide to stay there. In kyiv, passers-by once again roam the parks. Rare anti-aircraft alerts still sound, but every day new stores open in a setting of checkpoints and armed men that seem almost superfluous.