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From the file

Invaded: Voicemails from Ukraine | Listen to our collection of daily messages from inside Ukraine as the Russian invasion unfolds.

Nina, Thursday 24 February 2022

Nina, Thursday 24 February 2022


In the first of our Voicemails from Ukraine, Nina tells us how she found out “it” – the invasion – had begun

Hi, I’m Phoebe Davis. I’m a reporter at Tortoise. Thanks for listening to these voicemails. They come from ordinary Ukrainians. All angry, frightened and confused. This one is the first we ever got. It comes from Nina.


My name is Nina. I’m a media consultant from Kyiv. Me and my son moved to a safer region as I thought a few days ago. Today is Wednesday 24th of February, I was woken up by a phone call from my ex-husband who stayed in Kyiv and went to the terrestrial defence.

It was about 8am. And he said, “Do you know?” I said “Know what?” “It started”, he said. “What started?” “The war”, he said. Where I asked because there were Russian troops all around Ukraine from Russia and Belarus borders.

“Everywhere”, he said. And I came to know that Russia shelled with this stroke, it’s the airports all over Ukraine from Eastern to Western border, including major cities like Kyiv, Lviv, Odessa and smaller cities and towns, including the one where I am at the moment.

My heart started to beat very fast. I became very angry because there is nothing you can do immediately against the airstrike on your country. I called my mother who lived in one of the regions of specific interests of Vladimir Putin. She didn’t know what to do and told me she could not leave the city because there is also shelling in the region.

Then my mother in law came home and told me that she heard the sound of shelling in the morning and that the airport is on fire. The rest of the day I answered my friends from all over the world, mainly journalists. And I came to know that Russia imposed censorship on the war topic, so I could not comment for my friends from Russia.

My thoughts are with all those in the attacked and in Kyiv. In the capital, they were waiting for one more shelling at 5pm. Also, there are fights with Russian troops across the border in northern, eastern and south and regions and near Kyiv as well. Which is really, really frightening.

Of course, there was military aid from our Western partners, but it looks like we will fight ourselves. And I’m asking myself, how will all these world leaders deal with Vladimir Putin?

This is something new in Europe after WW2. He started the full-scale war with Ukraine, not from artificial not recognised Republic’s, but from all Russian and Belaurus borders with Ukraine.

So will the world keep saying that Nato is helping only the partners? Will all countries look at how the biggest country in Europe with 40 million people is fighting against one of the biggest armies in the world. Will they still trade with Russia? Have business with Russia? Respect Russia?

After all, how will Putin answer for his actions against big independent country – and I do not see the answer.

Listen to the next Voicemail from Ukraine – a collection of daily messages from inside Ukraine as the Russian invasion unfolds.

Next in this file

Mariia, Thursday 24 February 2022

Mariia, Thursday 24 February 2022

Mariia speaks about how she reacted to news of the Russian invasion, while also positive for Covid

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