Clive Myrie: The Ukrainians I met are not about to give up



Clive Myrie: The Ukrainians I met are not about to give up

I didn’t really see her face, but at her feet were several cooing pigeons. Every now and again, a shower of birdseed would tumble from her hand. She was wearing a heavy-looking grey coat, keeping out the late morning winter chill.

I motioned to my colleague, cameraman David McIlveen, to try to take her picture – but she sensed he was approaching, emptied the brown paper bag of birdseed and briskly walked away.

It was the first time in 48 hours that I had left our lodgings – a basement car park in the heart of Kyiv which had become a make-shift bomb shelter.

A weekend-long curfew had been imposed after Russian troops had invaded the country. There was a real fear foreign saboteurs were moving among the population and anyone caught outdoors would have been arrested.

You could see the nervousness on the faces of the soldiers and partisans manning checkpoints, despite the black balaclavas shielding them from the cold. Their eyes told stories of apprehension, concern, worry and existential threat.

Russian spies might be plotting routes for incoming troops, or smuggling weapons into the Ukrainian capital, or simply there to somehow sow seeds of discord among ordinary people to break local unity.

The city was awash with rumour and dread. Who might that be in the bomb shelter next to you, who is listening in to your conversation in the bread queue? Best stay indoors and observe the curfew.

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