Kateryna and her husband Oleg experience what every Kyiv resident does: protracted blackouts, hours without internet access, and ongoing anxiety over the upcoming missile barrage.
However, as 2023 gets underway, they are also getting ready for the arrival of twin boys. Kateryna, 34, is eight months along with her pregnancy. She and Oleg are concerned for their privacy, therefore HEADLINESFOREVER agreed to just use their first names.
Ahead of the big day, she isn’t getting much sleep. Nearly every day, air-raid sirens sound, and the crump of explosives is all too common. The programmed power outages affect their life since electricity is distributed around the regions to lessen the effects of Russia’s attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.
From her home in the suburbs of Kyiv, she told HEADLINESFOREVER, “On New Year’s Eve, I tried to take a nap. However, I was awakened by the sound of explosions, which continued all night. Up until 4:30 a.m., the sirens remained on for the majority of the night, she claimed.
The effect of Russian cruise missiles and drones is difficult for locals to discern from the sound of air defences in action.
I don’t mind the blackouts, but we are concerned about the upcoming Russian missile attack, Kateryna stated. Who will it be? It feels like a never-ending gamble.
Due to the indiscriminate character of the strikes, residential areas are as as at risk as power plants and railway lines. A nearby district, Vyshhorod, was struck a month ago. Since the start of the conflict, dozens of healthcare facilities across Ukraine, including maternity and children’s hospitals, have been attacked.
The chatter of generators as homes and businesses attempt to make up for being without electricity for as long as 12 hours a day can be heard in Kateryna’s area when the sirens are not screaming, she added.
They are this Christmas’ tinkling bells, she remarked.
Kateryna still makes the twice-weekly trip into central Kyiv to use one of the co-working spaces that have sprung up all over the Ukrainian city despite the danger and the impending arrival of the twins.
With the addition of furniture, heating, lighting, and consistent internet service delivered through Starlink terminals purchased from Elon Musk’s company, these areas have taken on a very professional appearance.
Kateryna is a logistics worker who assists with the importation of big containers into Ukraine. It’s more than just a means of support. Additionally, it’s a method to support the war effort.
The fact that Kateryna and Oleg have a tiny generator at home makes them luckier than other Ukrainians, but they only occasionally use it. It consumes a litre of diesel fuel every hour and needs to cool down every four hours, so there is always a chance that there won’t be enough to keep it running. They stated they had to decide whether to run the lights or the laundry.
They absolutely anticipate needing it well after the twins’ birth.
Being prepared is key to surviving in Kiev while Russia is at war with Ukraine. Batteries, power banks, and flashlights are all over Kateryna and Oleg’s cabinets. The scheduled power outages might grow less predictable, with more emergency cuts, if the Russian missile campaign against Ukrainian infrastructure goes on as most predict it would.
There is adequate food in the stores, although as Kateryna admits, “sometimes I have to shop with a torch.” Just in case things become worse before they get better, they have enough food stocked to last around two months in the house.
When the invasion started in February, Kateryna and Oleg, along with many other Kyiv residents, left the city for a safer location in western Ukraine. However, they were unwilling to leave the country. They immediately sensed a tug toward returning to the city from their homes.
“I work here; Oleg cannot work remotely because he works here. Here, our home, we have numerous pals. Moving somewhere else is a nightmare for me,” Kateryna stated.
Kateryna believes that their efforts to safeguard Ukraine’s future are joint ones. She claimed that throughout the first trimester of her pregnancy, she assisted Ukrainian volunteer organisations in obtaining money for warm clothing and other supplies for the Ukrainian army.
“The business where my husband works has a fund that provides drones and pick-up trucks to the Ukrainian warriors who are fighting on the front lines. We assisted in raising funds for such equipment, she stated.
They assisted a family that had escaped the frontlines early in the conflict, like many other Ukrainians did. The mother had given birth while Russian artillery shelled Kreminna, their hometown in the eastern Luhansk area. Oleg and Kateryna provided the family with food and warm clothing as they made their home in a suburb of Kyiv.
Kateryna claims that having a child during a conflict doesn’t scare her. She and Oleg want their sons to grow up in a setting that would be completely different from life in a territory occupied by Russia.
“I genuinely want my children to live in a free and secure Ukraine. Like all other children, they have the right to safety and protection. They should be content and carefree, not living in constant fear of being killed by a Russian rocket, she remarked.
Beyond having healthy children, her only worry is that she might end up in the hospital during another round of missile attacks. She stated that she would then pray fervently.