Ukraine Couple Fled Kyiv With 2 Cats, Half a Tank of Gas

Ukraine Couple Fled Kyiv With 2 Cats, Half a Tank of Gas

  • Dima and Tetiana remaining Kyiv with their cats, Scotty and Pixie, right after Russian forces started to invade.
  • They’ve confronted dense targeted visitors, fuel shortages, and bombings that ended up too shut for convenience.
  • Dima advised Insider about fleeing air strikes and the tranquil railroad city wherever they are in limbo.

Dima awoke to the audio of bombs on the early morning of February 24. At first he was not certain, but when he listened to the 2nd boom he realized that Russia was attacking Kyiv, the place he life.

He jumped out of bed and began packing. His spouse, Tetiana, was nonetheless asleep.

“She sleeps pretty nicely,” Dima, a application engineer, advised Insider, declining to share his very last name to guard his protection.

“I was the a person who woke her. I tried out to do this as gently as attainable, but even now, she panicked because she recognized and listened to,” he explained.

They failed to end up leaving that working day. The lines of cars and trucks exiting the town have been long and scarcely moving, and Dima and Tetiana only experienced half a tank of fuel. They feared they would burn off as a result of all of it ready in targeted visitors.

lines of cars heavy outbound traffic in kyiv

Automobiles drive out of Kyiv immediately after Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized a army procedure in japanese Ukraine, February 24, 2022.


Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters



“It wasn’t crystal clear if we need to go or we should stay and how perilous it can be,” Dima explained, including, “If you reduce this window when you should really transfer, then it gets to be definitely tough for you to move.”

two brown tabby cats on countertop look out the window

Dima and Tetiana’s cats, Scotty and Pixie, glimpse out the window at Tetiana’s grandparents’ property.

Courtesy of Dima


The subsequent day the streets appeared clearer, so they packed their cats, Scotty and Pixie, into provider baggage and drove south. They had mates in Vasylkiv, about 20 miles absent. The drive took two hrs, and they experienced to exhibit documents at 3 armed forces checkpoints, according to Dima.

Whilst the pair assumed they may possibly be safer in Vaslylkiv, just hrs after they arrived, the night was broken by bombings.

‘It’s genuinely tricky to engage in tabletop game titles when you listen to air strikes higher than your head.’

There was a army foundation about a few miles from Vasylkiv, and Russia attacked it 3 or 4 periods in the a few times the pair stayed there, Dima said.

The daytime was calm, other than occasional spurts of shooting in the distance. But around 10 p.m., bomb blasts would start out to shake the home windows, in accordance to Dima.

“What is seriously terrifying is when individuals air strikes are followed by floor shootings, so you have an understanding of that some troops were delivered and there is a ground war,” Dima said. “The working experience is not enjoyable, essentially. You are stressed and you do not know if the subsequent bomb will hit somewhere genuinely close.”

They attempted to distract on their own by cooking borscht, cleansing, and taking part in with the dog. At night, they turned to games.

“It is really actually tricky to enjoy tabletop online games when you listen to air strikes earlier mentioned your head, but I assume doing one thing is surely far better than just shaking in concern, which we, I believe, stopped performing just after the next evening,” he stated.

But just after three nights of air strikes, coupled with information that Russia’s armed forces was bombing residential parts, they resolved it was time to shift additional west, away from the preventing. Dima and Tetiana repacked their automobile. Their Vasylkiv friends packed their canine and cat into their have vehicle. Then the two-car caravan drove west, seeking for gasoline so that they could make it to a modest railroad town in central Ukraine, where by Tetiana’s grandparents reside.

They only identified a single fuel station offering gasoline. The traces have been long and the owner demanded dollars payments, but they managed to refuel.

“As quickly as we acquired the gasoline our spirits have been lifted, and it was truly simpler to see how we can get in which we want to get,” Dima claimed.

For the cats, who were skittish about the loud seems and grouchy about touring in modest carrying baggage, it was a tougher adjustment.

“They’re not actually adventurous,” Dima claimed, adding, “They ended up dwelling in apartments throughout their complete existence.”

A bubble of peace, but with air-raid sirens

mural blue and orange with painting of soldier and words in ukrainian

A mural on a creating in Tetiana’s grandparents’ hometown reads “To be a warrior is to reside for good” in Ukrainian.

Courtesy of Dima


The few initially supposed to keep driving west and settle in a safer place the place they could volunteer to help the war energy. But for now, Dima, Tetiana, their friends, and their animals are keeping in the compact railroad city.

Dima desires to be a part of a civilian militia, which supports the military and staffs checkpoints.

“It’s truly hard for me to read the news and not be in a position to actively help, so I want to be someplace where by I can be genuinely helpful,” he said. “I am trying to uncover a widespread ground here, the place we can help, but also she’s risk-free,” Dima explained of Tetiana.

Rather, they’ve uncovered that the apartments in western cities are filling with persons from central and japanese Ukraine. So they have remained with Tetiana’s grandparents for now, where they have a put to remain.

They could not uncover any espresso in city for a handful of days, which was challenging given that Dima and Tetiana commonly drink it each day. They lately learned a coffee store that’s nevertheless open, nevertheless.

“It is really incredibly standard listed here. You wouldn’t inform that there is a main war happening in the place. Men and women are going to the merchants, driving bicycles,” Dima mentioned, birds singing in the qualifications of our cellphone contact. “Very little displays that you will find any indicator of catastrophe.”

person walks down snow-lined street under gray skies and apartment buildings

The streets of the little city where Tetiana and Dima are remaining.

Courtesy of Dima


An hour and a half later on, he despatched an audio recording of air-raid sirens, with a text: “Not only birds chirping.”

The sirens go off a couple instances a working day, he claimed, but there have not been bombings. Now they can go a total night time devoid of listening to sirens or shootings.

It is unclear if that peace will last.