“We’ve going to spend the night in the metro”

The day began with a bomb blast in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev.“It seemed so far away and so close to us”Pierre Mareczko, a 35-year-old Frenchman who immigrated to Ukraine in 2019, tells Franceinfo. He and his wife, Victoria, who is eight months pregnant, took refuge in the metro station from the north on Thursday afternoon, February 24th. City.

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“I got a call from the Kwai d’Orsay, which listed the possibilities of expelling the French from the country, but it seemed difficult for me to have a baby with my wife.”, The former journalist who was transferred back into the fund explains over the phone. Before going underground, he considered several options, such as heading west. “Very dangerousHe decided, We do not know where to go … Will there be fights?

On the evening of February 24, 2022, several hundred residents of Kiev were installed at a metro station north of the city.  (PIERRE MAREZCKO)

Behind him, a noise interrupts him. This is the M2 Line Metro, which is still running until 10pm. “It simply came to our notice thenPierre misses Maresco. Then, all lights will be turned off because we will be kept under curfew until 7 a.m., as provided by martial law. We’re going to spend the night in the subway. “ According to the news of the Minister of Defense of Ukraine, his station is one of several bomb shelters that opened at 4 pm on Thursday. Oleksiy Reznikov, aired on local channels.

“We have heard that airstrikes have been detected in our area and it is advisable to seek asylum as soon as possible.”, Related to Pierre Mareczko. Since then, about 300 people have been waiting at the station, which has been converted into a base camp, with their eyes glued to TV screens or glued to their phones. “Families, children, the elderly, many homeless have taken refuge”Describing the thirties, he says he was inspired by the silence of his neighbor.

On February 24, 2022, residents of Kiev (Ukraine) prepare to sleep at a metro station to protect themselves from Russian bombings.  (PIERRE MAREZCKO)

“One would expect scenes of panic, but it was the complete opposite, He says again. When my wife became ill, everyone came together to help her. We quickly found a doctor, and the Babushkas brought a chair for her to rest on. ” The Babushkas (“Grandma”, in Russian), which is the capital’s metro staff, receptionists, counter clerks … loyal to their position this evening. As a reassuring symbol for some refugees, everyone is getting ready to sleep in camp chairs and yoga mats, curled up in the station’s cool black tiles.

For Pierre Mareczko and his family, the night promises to be tough. “We all see pictures of the bombings in the telegram, He says, In buildings that look like the buildings around us. ” His wife, from the Luhansk region of Donbass, fled the war in 2014 with pro-Russian separatists. She finds herself in conflict, and every hour spent at the metro station raises the question of deportation a little more.

“To this day there is no question of leaving us because our life is here, our daughter is about to be born,” Pierre Mareczko says, But I have to take my wife safely. If France is ready to expel us, we will definitely leave if the situation worsens.

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