I am in Kyiv now. Since we live in the center of the city, the sounds of explosions reach us – remote areas of the city are bombed every day. The work of the city's air defense can be heard all the time.
The day before yesterday I saw in the window the plane which destroyed the Russian bayraktar. It was very impressive, like pillars of fire falling to the ground.
In the city, some houses have air alarm speakers that can be heard in different places. Many times a day.
There are few people left in the city. However, there are people with small children. They walk with them on the playgrounds and this gives us all great hope. The day before yesterday I saw two adult girls swinging on the playground. It was as if each of them wanted to return to their childhood, a time when there was no war.
There are pharmacies, shops and even some cafes that serve coffee just like that, for free. If you have money, you can leave it to the barista.
Fragrant and very tasty bread is sold in shops and some private bakeries. When the war is over, I invite you to come and try the Ukrainian bread, it is special! The shops have basic products - vegetables, milk, bread and even chocolate.
As for the city's infrastructure, everything is working properly. All the houses have water, heat, gas. Only those houses that were destroyed by shelling were left without it all.
Garbage trucks drive around. Firefighters leave in time to places of defeat and extinguish fires on spots hit by bombs.
Many civilians in Kyiv and the region are now homeless.
The Russian army is shelling residential neighborhoods and fighting mostly civilians.
I try to help my friends in defense. These are theater artists who have now received weapons and are involved in defending the area of the city where they live. They drive small cars and manage to take people out of hot spots near Kyiv, transport food and medicine to the elderly who remained in the city.
On all streets the traffic is blocked by special defensive concrete blocks that the enemy equipment couldn't pass. There are many soldiers with weapons in the city center, they check each car going through the city.
People on the street communicate with each other as if they were relatives. Everyone tells their story, wishes each other good luck and offers help.
Warm greetings from the beautiful city of Kyiv.
Roughly translated from Ukrainian
Literature Against Occupation: PEN Georgia and PEN Ukraine
How to Hide an Empire: Naming and Nature of Russo-Ukrainian War
Notes and Diaries From Kyiv (shared from the Instagram profile @asiabazdyrieva)
Ludwika Włodek in conversation with Oksana Zabuzhko
An appeal for the urgent protection of the freedom of expression in Russia and Belarus
Statement by the International PEN