War in Ukraine: Kseniia, a Ukrainian mother living in Toulouse and stranded in Kiev, recounts her daily life under the bombs
Ksenia has been living in Toulouse for fifteen years. She went to Kiev on vacation long before the start of the Russian bombardments. Blocked with her daughter alongside her Ukrainian mother, she recounts the bombardments and the fear.
The conversation is jerky, interrupted by network problems between France and Ukraine. Kseniia, 40, mother of a 7-year-old girl, living in Toulouse for 15 years, is currently in Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, with her mother. This mother went on vacation before the start of the war to visit her mother. “I am in shock, it may be weird to say this, the conflict has been going on for eight years but it was targeted in the Donbass. I did not expect the situation to get so out of hand “, she says, her voice trembling.
His family vacation turned into a matter of survival. “I am in constant contact with the embassy, we have no information on a possible evacuation, we live with fear in our stomachs”, she continues but the conversation is cut off. The 40-year-old is called to the basement to take refuge, the bombardments near Kiev intensify.
“War is upon us”
When she can phone again, she talks about the nights interrupted by the bombardments, her daughter’s worry and constant anxiety. “In 2022, being woken up by bombings, I can tell you it’s shocking. We jump or wake up at the slightest noise, I’m talking to you and I just heard an impact,” she says.
Regularly during the day, the inhabitants of this building must leave their apartments to go down to the basement. “There are crates on the ground to sit on, a little light, a few sheets to keep warm”, describes the young woman. When sealed off, these Ukrainians listen to information from the front. “There are a lot of deaths, damage, I have never been so afraid in my life”, collapses this Ukrainian.
Through her testimony, she calls for help. “I pray for Kiev, for Ukraine, Europe must protect us from this war,” insists Kseniia. For the moment, the Ukrainian capital has not been the target of fire but “we do not know what will happen in the hours to come, what we do know is that the war is at our doorstep” . Kseniia and her 7-year-old daughter hope to be able to leave the country like the other French nationals still present there. “My mom does not want to leave Ukraine, she loves her country, she wants to feed the Ukrainian soldiers who defend the country”, revealed this Toulouse by adoption.
According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, 137 dead have been replaced since the start of the Russian invasion.