Ukraine: kyiv lives in constant tension before the threat of the great Russian offensive | International

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kyiv has settled in something like a no man’s land within the war that began 25 days ago in Ukraine. Russian troops have not entered the heart of the capital nor have they carried out incursions or intense bombardments, although intense fighting does take place in the surrounding towns. But the hundreds of thousands of inhabitants who still live in kyiv do not have a single calm day. This Sunday there was again an attack in a residential neighborhood without fatalities and as night fell, anti-aircraft fire resounded throughout the city. It is estimated that approximately half of the three million people who lived in the country’s main city have left it since the invasion of Kremlin troops began on February 24.

The military controls, the barricades and the concrete blocks used to stop the possible Russian incursion into the capital are already part of the new appearance. Traffic is sparse and sidewalks are deserted almost at any time of day, but traffic jams sometimes form at points where the military or police require drivers to identify themselves or open the trunk of the car to check what is wrong. that they transport There are thousands of people between civilians and soldiers waiting for the security of the city, but the Russian tanks have not approached the center.

However, at two in the afternoon on Sunday an explosion was heard several kilometers away after shaking a residential area halfway between the center of kyiv and the town of Irpin, the scene of intense fighting for days. Several cars have burned next to a crater drilled next to a 10-storey apartment building. The surroundings have been carpeted with crystals that sounded by creaking under the footwear, as the neighbors were approaching to contemplate what happened. It was not the first time in recent days that a projectile had fallen in this area.

Hundreds of windows and the facades of several blocks had been damaged. The authorities have not reported fatalities, but five injuries have been recorded. As has happened in the attacks that have taken place in recent days, the mayor of the capital, the former boxing champion Vitali Klichko, has quickly moved to the scene. Along with the ambulances, which have taken two of the injured to the hospital, fire trucks have also arrived to put out the fire. It is a ceremony that has been repeated since, on the second day of the war, Russia attacked a building where civilians live for the first time in the capital in an action that has been repeated several times since then.

Eugeni, 33, contemplates what happened this Sunday in his building from a distance in the company of an elderly neighbor whom he is taking care of. They wait for the area to stop being cordoned off by the security forces to return home despite the destruction. In the background you can hear the work to finish removing the glass from what was his school, a few dozen meters from the building where she lives. He gazes at the scene wistfully. “This is my city and I plan to return home,” says Eugeni determinedly, pointing to the damaged facade of his block. Teary-eyed, despite his determination, he explains that his six-month-pregnant wife has had to leave kyiv far away. Both are expecting a child who will be his first child.

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Dozens of journalists from around the world have flocked to the site of the explosion to take pictures or make live connections. One of the soldiers guarding the area complains about what he understands to be onlookers. “People here live under pressure because we have been receiving rockets from the Russians for a month. We live under great danger,” says Anton, 32, another neighbor, who expresses himself in Spanish. “The people who live here are completely civilians. There are no military targets here, as the Russian Federation that is bombing says, and there are many people who live here, women with children, people who do not want to leave their hometown. Every night, many have to take refuge in the basements, ”he adds while in the background the detonations are heard and the alarms sound that alert to a possible air attack.

Outside the security cordon, a Red Cross tent has been set up where some neighbors are cared for. Diana, a 21-year-old volunteer, says that many of them are older people who they have to listen to and offer them tea and coffee. “Many find it hard to leave their house” even on days with attacks like this because it is “where they have lived all their lives,” says the young volunteer.

Meanwhile, far from the site of Sunday’s attack, the square that opens in front of the Saint Sophia Cathedral, in the center, a carpet of a million and a half tulips remembers those who fell in war. The esplanade has become a place of pilgrimage for some Kievites who come to contemplate the scene or to photograph it with their mobile.

One and a half million tulips form a carpet in honor of the fallen in the war in front of Saint Sophia Cathedral in kyiv.Luis de Vega

About 700 kilometers from that square, in the south of the country, the second attack with hypersonic missiles has been registered, according to Russian information. It has been in Konstantinovka, a city of 70,000 inhabitants, where the projectile launched from Crimea and capable of circumventing anti-aircraft defenses, would have destroyed “a large fuel warehouse”, according to the Kremlin. “The main fuel supplies for Ukrainian armored vehicles in combat areas in southern Ukraine were made from that base,” the Russian Defense Ministry said.

Ukraine has denounced this Sunday another massacre of civilians that it claims occurred on March 11 in Kreminna, a city of 23,000 inhabitants of Lugansk. Serhii Haidai, commander of the Lugansk oblast – an area controlled by Ukrainian troops in this region contested by pro-Russian separatists – denounced this Sunday on Telegram that the Russian Army killed 56 people in a nursing home. “They did it deliberately and cynically,” he has claimed. Haidai has added that they have not been able to recover the bodies, and that 15 survivors were transferred to a nursing home in the already Russian-occupied area of ​​Svatove.

The Ukrainian Ombudsman, Ludmila Denisova, has described the attack as “genocide”, and has called for the establishment of a Special Military Court. “For every crime of this kind, for every innocent life taken, the leadership of the aggressor state must be held accountable with the full severity of international criminal law,” she said in a Telegram message.

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