Feb 24, 2022
Photos and videos circulating on social media and news networks across the globe Thursday showed Ukrainian civilians using subway stations as emergency shelters, lining up to cross into Poland, and taking in the wreckage from Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
"You wake up in a totally new reality at 5:00 am and you find out the world is no longer the safe place you imagined," one Ukrainian woman told CNN's Clarissa Ward in a crowd subway station. "We don't want to be a part of Russia or any other country."
Holding back tears, the woman added that she wants the Russian people to know that the invading forces are "not attacking just the military bases, they're actually attacking in our neighborhoods and they're making us feel insecure and very unsafe."
\u201c\u201cYou wake up in a totally new reality and find out the world is no longer the safe place you imagined. And it\u2019s hard to believe that it\u2019s actually our neighbor doing this.\u201d\n\nIn an emotional interview, one Ukrainian woman tells @clarissaward that the world has changed overnight.\u201d— CNN International PR (@CNN International PR) 1645718084
\u201c'We try [to] be brave, because we have children and we don\u2019t want to show them that we are scared' \u2014 Ukrainians are bunkering down in subway stations to protect themselves as Russia continues to attack\u201d— NowThis (@NowThis) 1645734821
Scenes of Ukrainians flooding the train stations to escape the Russian attack drew comparisons to Londoners and the Blitz during World War II.
\u201cPeople sheltering in Kharkiv's subway system. A woman can be heard saying, "I never thought something so fucked up would happen in my lifetime."\u201d— Kevin Rothrock (@Kevin Rothrock) 1645728440
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the military action before dawn Thursday, sparking swift condemnation from human rights groups and political leaders worldwide as well as protests from people across Russia--who risked arrest to demonstrate against war--and around the world.
As peace advocates took the streets, the International Rescue Committee warned that "the resulting humanitarian catastrophe from a full-scale war in Ukraine will lead to grave human suffering. The world will bear witness to innocent deaths, destruction of civilian infrastructure, and massive displacement inside the country and across Europe."
\u201c"We are going into hiding."\n\nAt least 26 people were wounded by Russian shelling in Mariupol \u2014 a strategic Ukrainian port city 6 miles from separatist-held areas.\n\nRussia says it backs rebels claims in Donetsk, including the city, despite most of it being controlled by Ukraine.\u201d— AJ+ (@AJ+) 1645714932
\u201cVIDEO Buildings have been destroyed after a shelling in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol as Russia launched a military assault on its neighbour, hitting targets across the country\u201d— AFP News Agency (@AFP News Agency) 1645740133
Russian forces reportedly seized control of Chernobyl, the site of the historic 1986 nuclear disaster. A Ukrainian official said that "the condition of the former Chernobyl nuclear power plant, confinement, and nuclear waste storage facilities is unknown."
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video statement late Thursday that at least 137 Ukrainians have died so far and another 316 were wounded. He also ordered a 90-day military mobilization and barred male citizens ages 18 to 60 from leaving the country.
\u201cAn unidentified missile struck southern Kyiv. A witness said she \u2018heard a terrible explosion of unbelievable power.\u2019 More on the Ukraine crisis: https://t.co/CCm8SSxnb1\u201d— Reuters (@Reuters) 1645685900
Some Ukrainians who fled their homes have gone to Poland, which has opened up reception centers for refugees. One reporter captured a traffic jam spanning over six miles at the border.
\u201cAt least 10 km long traffic jam at Krakovets border crossing into Poland tonight. All refugees, clamouring to get away from the Russian invasion army. #Ukraine\u201d— \u00d8ystein Bogen (@\u00d8ystein Bogen) 1645741541
\u201cThe UN estimates 100,000 people have fled their homes in Ukraine following Russia's invasion, with several thousand crossing into neighboring countries, mainly Moldova and Romania.\n\nPoland said it would open nine reception centers to deal with the influx of refugees.\u201d— DW News (@DW News) 1645745419
Photojournalists across Ukraine also captured damage from Russian rocket attacks and distressed civilians seeking safety.
"I am very stressed. I didn't sleep last night," Anna, a resident of the Ukrainian city Chernihiv, said from her vehicle in a video shared by The New York Times. "I was gathering our belongings. And I'm stuck here in traffic, and it's taking too long."
\u201cHere's what the first day of Russia's invasion of Ukraine looked like around the country. The attack left dozens dead and drew new sanctions that President Biden said would buckle Russia\u2019s economy.\nFollow live updates as the fighting continues. https://t.co/dQyc5v1EbW\u201d— The New York Times (@The New York Times) 1645741207
"We all want peace and quiet, we don't want war," said Anastazja, a Polish student who was studying in Ukraine but returned to her home country.
She also called on decision-makers in Russia to end the long-awaited invasion, saying, "Please... stop, because people suffer from it."
While reporters and others within Ukraine shared harrowing footage of Russia's air and ground assault, Reuters also flagged some images and videos that were misrepresented.
\u201cWhile authentic footage and images shared by journalists and local residents documented Russia's invasion of Ukraine (see: https://t.co/1vqkD32qET), @ReutersFacts also identified mislabeled imagery\u201d— Reuters Fact Check (@Reuters Fact Check) 1645717065
Other journalists have created graphics tracking the Russian attacks throughout Ukraine, which is about 233,000 square miles.
Zelenskyy, in his video statement, said that Russian groups have entered the Ukrainian capital and are targeting the president and his family.
"According to our information, the enemy marked me as target No. 1, my family, as target No. 2. They want to destroy Ukraine politically by destroying the head of state. We have information that enemy sabotage groups have entered Kyiv," he said. "I am staying in the government quarter together with others."
\u201c"This morning has gone down in history"\n\nUkrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky says Russia has attacked Ukraine in a \u201ccunning way,\u201d acting much the same as Hitler did in the Second World War, adding that "Russia is on the path of evil" https://t.co/fSBK1jO0jD\u201d— CNN (@CNN) 1645704235
"The question now in Kyiv," said Ukrainian journalist Oleksiy Sorokin, "is... whether we will survive."
Sorokin, who reports for The Kyiv Independent, told MSNBC's Katy Tur that "we were told that we shouldn't exist."
\u201c"The question now in Kyiv is whether we will survive." @mrsorokaa of the @kyivindependent talks to @KatyTurNBC about the feeling in Kyiv right now.\u201d— Katy Tur Reports (@Katy Tur Reports) 1645732115
"Kyiv was a European capital. Kyiv had bars, had clubs. We love. We had freedom of speech. We went to movies. We enjoyed life. I had plans for the future. I had an apartment renovation that's ongoing," said Sorokin. "I wanted to live... in the city, in the capital of a European state."
"And because of one madman, one absolutely insane person," he added, referring Putin, "I am sitting in bomb shelter, and my main priority right now is for my grandma, my dad, his family to survive--and that's the world we are living in, in 2022, in Europe."
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