yana and cats fin.jpg
kyiv 1_edited.jpg

Yana 28 y.o.

Before Russian aggression lived in Kyiv

My Story

The 24th of February was the worst day of my life! That day I woke up from the terrible sounds of explosions. The feelings of fear and hopelessness broke something inside of me, all the plans and my safe life.

I was going to stay at home, but after I spent a lot of time and did not succeed in finding the shelters around me, I decided to leave Kyiv. So we took two our cats, our friend with three children and a dog and went to the village in the center of Ukraine where my parents lived.

I never felt myself so vulnerable, I did not know if we would have enough food, I was afraid I could die from hunger or simply could be shot by Russian killers, or be hit by their missile. I had no internet or cellular service, so I could not check if all of my relatives and friends were safe.

We lived there for a week, but then decided to move closer to the border worrying for our lives. We did not have a car, so we ordered two taxi cars from the city of Cherkassy to the city of Uzhgorod (located on the Ukrainian-Slovakian border), a total of 900 kilometers. It was a pretty expensive ride. So we took my other friend with a child, as we tried to save as many lives as we could. We planned to get to Uzhgorod in one or two days and stay there.

Our expectations did not match the reality. The first car broke down in the first evening. So we stayed to sleep in cars in a field waiting for a car repair. All of the roads were crowded with cars - traffic jams reached for tens of kilometers. So our ride lasted for three days. All this time we could not find any place to sleep, even for a few hours. We were so tired and afraid we wouldn’t have a safe place to live at in our final destination, so we went onward to Slovakia. One of the relatives took us there in his minivan and drove us to Hamburg, Germany. We could stay there for two weeks.

After Hamburg, we went to Romania. So we passed a total of 5,000 kilometers during one month, with two cats. It was complicated and stressful!

I received a lot of support all along the way. I saw wonderful people. The world is decorated with Ukrainian flags now. I see and feel support everywhere I go.

I see people living their usual lives, and in some way it helps, but in some way it hurts me. It's like there is an abyss between us. I wish that no one goes through what all Ukrainians have been going through now. I dream of returning back home...