03.    Kseniya (Kyiv)

Kyiv is the best city in the world. I lived there for 12 years and was just in love with it, I felt completely safe there. By the start of 2022 I’d built a wonderful life for myself: I loved my work as a counsellor, I had friends, the chance to travel. I had the year all planned out, tickets booked for a holiday with my parents, exciting projects at work… On the 24th of February I set my alarm to wake up early. I was just about to move house, and I wanted to watch the sunrise from my old flat one last time. There were always such beautiful sunrises there… But instead of my alarm I was woken by the war.

When I left Ukraine I took my grandma's earrings, some polaroids from our last party in February, and my favourite perfume. Almost everything else I threw away or gave to refugees. I’ve no regrets. You find your attitude to material things changes radically.

I find my life here surreal at times... It’s hard for me because I’m living in the UK but I go online and I’m back in the Ukrainian info-space. I’ll read the news and then for half a day I’m just not right, I can’t function...

By now my family back home can tell the different missiles apart just by the sound they make. They take self-defence courses, first-aid courses…they carry first-aid kits everywhere they go. They work hard, selflessly. Because they’re working for our victory. And they know it’s going to come.


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