Published: 2022-12-06 12:40 pm
Embassies in Denmark and Romania receive ‘dangerous parcels,’ Ukraine says.
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When the air raid sirens ring out, residents of Kyiv head underground.

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People crowded into underground Metro stations as air raid alarms went off across Ukraine’s capital.CreditCredit...Laura Boushnak for The New York Times

KYIV, Ukraine — In a city where daily routines have been wrecked by unrelenting Russian missile strikes, unpredictable power cuts and unreliable water supplies, residents of Kyiv know that, at any time, they might have to spend a few hours in an air raid shelter.

It had been 13 days since the last large-scale barrage of Russian missiles fired at targets across Ukraine, the longest stretch without blasts in and around the capital since Moscow began its assault on the nation’s energy infrastructure in early October. For days, Ukrainian officials had been warning that another attack was imminent.

So when the air raid alarms sounded across Kyiv early on Monday afternoon, many people were not surprised. The sirens were followed by warnings that missiles were inbound, and soon after the thunder of air defense systems could be heard over the capital.

“To be honest I feel relief this time,” said Olha Kotrus, 34. “For two weeks there were reports that it might happen and then you live in constant tension.”

Ms. Kotrus was sitting on the floor of a Kyiv metro station with her mom, a cat in a cage and her dog. The dog, dressed in a blue outfit to keep it warm in the winter chill, was visibly stressed. Ms. Kotrus was angry and fed up.

She joined a crowd of hundreds people deep underground at the metro station Golden Gate, named after the main fortification that served as the entrance to the city 1,000 years ago.

By evening, however, the famed gate was not illuminated, forced into darkness like much of the city. Monday’s barrage of rockets targeting sites around the country was the eighth such wave of attacks on key energy infrastructure targets, according to the national utility operator, Ukrenergo.

“Unfortunately, energy infrastructure facilities have already been hit and there have been emergency power outages related to this,” Ukrenergo said in a statement.

At least ten rockets were aimed at Kyiv on Monday, according to local officials. Nine were shot down above the capital, the officials said.

Like everyone interviewed in Kyiv, Ms. Kotrus’s anger was directed at Russia and her frustration was the result of many days filled with anxiety and long, dark nights with no power.

Anna Sokolova, 21, said she had endured cuts in power and water supplies for two weeks, ever since the last wave of missiles. Ms. Sokolova lives near a local utility headquarters that has been targeted in recent Russian strikes and said she always takes shelter when the alarms sound.

But she did not want to complain about her own hardships, saying it is nothing compared to what her friends, soldiers fighting on the front lines, are experiencing.

Lyumyla Vonifatova, 66, agreed.

“We all understand that without electricity, life becomes impossible,” she said. “Yet, we will just have to find a way to get through it.”

She was passing the time in the subway shelter by looking at a small display of photos of this war and others that came before it.

“Despite all the loss of human life and economic hardship, we will stand until the end,” she said. “Because this is a fight for our freedom.”

But Tetyana Tkachenko’s six-year-old son is too small to understand that. She said he is terrified every time the alarms sound.

“He was crying, running around,” when the alarms began to sound, Ms. Tkachenko said. He quickly put on warm clothes and begged to “go to the subway,” she said.

She grabbed two foldable chairs, previously used for the park or beach. But now they were part of the family’s new routine, for when the sirens sound and they head deep underground.

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