Brewer Native Tells Us What It’s Like Living in Ukraine Today
It's hard to imagine life in Ukraine as Russia moves in, so I asked for some perspective from a former Brewer High classmate, who's currently living there.
Why is Leonard in Kyiv?
I lost track of Leonard after we graduated and was surprised when he reached out to me this week. For the record, I'm not giving Leonard's last name out of respect for him and his family. He caught me up on where he's been, including the diner he owns in a coastal town in another state and runs five months out of the year. The rest of the year, he lives in Ukraine with his girlfriend. Leonard says he's traveled extensively in Europe and Kyiv is his favorite spot, a place where he's always felt safe, or did until the Russian invasion.
What's it Like Trying to Get Supplies?
When we first started talking on Thursday, he said that everything was different. One day, he and his girlfriend spent four hours standing in line for medical supplies, before finally giving up and going home, empty-handed. Later, when they decided it was time to go, they met similar challenges.
We started trying to leave today, but now we are in a long line for gas and things are crazy, like before a hurricane. The trains are packed with people trying to flee danger. Everyone just wants freedom from Putin.
Later in the day, he updated me by saying that they had been unable to get to the gas station in time. He could see their house but didn't want to leave his vehicle and walk home. They just wanted to go, a feeling shared by many. People were setting up bunkers outside his house and others were walking out of Kyiv.
At this moment, I feel desperate. I think there will be bombshells coming soon and we will become a part of this insanity. Some days I can watch the stories on TV and feel water on my face.
Every day Leonard posts on social media that they are safe. Our prayers are with them as they try to make their way to safety. Here's hoping that they're soon back at that coastal diner, telling their stories of escape to the customers.
UPDATE: Leonard and his loved ones have left Kyiv and are in a much safer part of Ukraine, far from the fighting.