Fear, Anger, Love: See Ukrainians’ Texts From the First Hours of War

These are some of the tens of millions of messages Ukrainians wrote to buddies, household and family members as Russia invaded early in the morning of Feb. 24. The messages are a snapshot of a fateful day for Ukraine and Europe — capturing the worry, love and help shared in the first hours of struggle.

“I’m impressed by the humor, honesty, bravery and plenty of ‘How are you’s and ‘I really like you’s that had been mentioned on that day,” mentioned Ira Yaroshko, an writer who collected the messages on this web page and is writing a ebook utilizing them. Textual content messages certain Ukraine collectively “like threads,” she mentioned.

Ms. Yeroshko, who was visiting her dad and mom in Lutsk in northwestern Ukraine that morning, mentioned that she had herself began texting as quickly as she awakened and heard explosions. “I instantly knew what it meant,” she mentioned.

Most of the following messages have been translated, and a few include sturdy language.


Ira Yeroshko

I can’t consider it began

good friend one

yeah. at 3am planes had been flying

Why do I hear the bombing sounds?

good friend two

The airfield is on hearth

good friend one

As a result of they’re bombing airports

good friend two

Ar Vyshkiv seems to be like nothing is going on

Rattling, what’s ready for us?


good friend one

I feel they bombed and subsequent might be the offensive

Oleksandr Starun, 27, is a supervisor at a manufacturing unit in the Czech Republic. Mr. Starun is from Belarus however his grandparents stay in the Chernihiv area of northern Ukraine. He wrote to a good friend, additionally in Europe, about their anxieties for family members in Ukraine and about the televised deal with that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia delivered that day.


Oleksandr Starun

The struggle began. Rattling. So I awakened.

That is horrible. How are your grandma and grandpa? So there was a cause why I felt sick after this scum’s speech.

Vitalii Hordiyenko, 24, is a YouTube blogger. On Feb. 24, he was making ready to go away Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, and messaging with a good friend who was on his approach to a army commissariat to register with the military.


Vitalii Hordiyenko

Good Morning. Russia attacked Ukraine.

Good Morning. Russia began the course of of self-destruction.

Lilia Turchyn, 33, is a decide’s assistant in the Lviv area, in western Ukraine. Her first messages had been together with her sister, who lived close to a army base in Lviv. Afterward the twenty fourth, her sister moved together with her husband out of Lviv to a close-by city that appeared safer.


Lilia Turchyn

Svitlanka, the struggle began

Watch out, and inform our mother to watch out with Myroslav

In all places they’re writing

They are saying it can final 48 hours

Petro Krushelnytsky, 27, works in Poland. He was in Warsaw on Feb. 24 and wrote to his brother, who had been referred to as again from a trip in the weeks earlier than the invasion and deployed from western Ukraine to the Dnipro area.

“I took out my telephone and opened the information and it was a shock,” he mentioned. “The primary particular person I wrote to was my brother Mykola.”

On Oct. 16, 2022, the 128th Brigade, by which his brother served, led a counteroffensive from the Dnipro area in the direction of Kherson and “in a heavy battle, my brother died close to the metropolis of Zelenodolsk. A pair of minutes after I came upon that he died, my mom referred to as me and it was the scariest name in my life.”

”My brother was a really type particular person,” he mentioned. “Sadly, it’s true — the greatest die in struggle. Now I’ve to stay for 2 and discover a approach to be glad, as a result of in any other case all these devoted lives might be in useless.”


Petro Krushelnytsky

I’m in Dnipro area however don’t inform anybody as a result of I say our mother that I’m nonetheless in Mukacheve

Are you already at struggle or simply in your manner?

Maintain on. I’m honored to have such brother as you

We got here in yesterday. We’re 200 kilometers from them so dont know, might be possibly going to the frontline now.

when may have a chance, write me that each one good with you

The place are they taking you?

Inesa Matiushenko, 33, is the co-founder of a charity that helps most cancers sufferers. Her first dialog was in English, with an acquaintance from the Netherlands — a person she had seen in particular person solely as soon as, with some others, a yr earlier.

“I used to be very stunned when he wrote me,” she mentioned. “He came upon about the struggle and wrote all folks whom he knew from Ukraine and that was me. Was very scary then however even that one message it was about help which all of us badly wanted.”

She added: ”It is necessary for me to recollect those that wrote me with help on at the present time.”


Inesa Matiushenko

We need to let that we take into consideration you and your nation and we actually hope you’re okay and that it will finish now. Right here the information and the folks don’t discuss the rest than the struggle, everyone seems to be offended or horrified and everybody needs to help Ukraine the place we will. If we will do something nonetheless small please tell us. For now we want you the greatest on this state of affairs and hope for you and your loved ones to be protected.

We okay if one thing may be on this case

Inna Zhurba, 45, is an administrator at Cherkasy State Technological College, in central Ukraine. On Feb. 24, she was awoken by her colleagues’ messages, opened Fb and noticed many buddies writing that the struggle had began. She determined to not evacuate together with her 14-year-old son. “I discovered these messages now and began crying remembering that day,” she mentioned.


Inna Zhurba

Colleague One

Guys, survive!!! with a prayer for every of you!!!

Colleague Two

Is it quiet the place you might be?

Colleague One

For now sure, thank God, how are you?

Colleague Two

Right here is taking pictures

Colleague Three

And once more simply now

Pylyp Dotsenko, 31, is a photographer. He awoke to explosions in Kyiv, acquired up and went searching for a bomb shelter, photographing what he noticed alongside the manner. He referred to as his mom begging her to remain house from work. He had telephone calls with the household on the first day and exchanged his first messages with buddies on Feb. 25.


Pylyp Dotsenko

Hello! May you please advise the most secure shelter for us? I noticed you had been posting footage of it.

Thanks. How are you? How is household?

We’re not in Ukraine however household is there. Begging my mother to take a shelter

Andriana Chunis, 32, is an illustrator. On Feb. 24, she was in Lviv together with her husband and 4-year-old son, Ustym. They directly determined to evacuate to their dad and mom’ home in the countryside, as a result of they had been very scared Russia would possibly assault from Belarus.

“All day I spent on the telephone with my buddies evacuating from throughout Ukraine,” she mentioned

“My good friend from Kyiv couldn’t depart, as there was no chance, so she simply put her youngster into one of the vehicles driving in our route and I took her youngster to my dad and mom’ home along with one other 17 folks. She managed to get to us solely the subsequent day. All of us slept in the basement and corridors. There was no time to fret as I needed to prepare dinner for 17 folks. All the time somebody was washing dishes.”


Andriana Chunis

For me to go overseas is like

to just accept that they received or one thing

We’re requested to modify off the lights in our homes. How scary. I don’t know on which aspect of the home to place the kids to sleep

It’s the fucking finish of complete safety

Fucking hell. How fucked up these sonofabitch Russians.

Fuck, this was such a tough day, how will we final every week, psychologically

I doubt they may assault Poland…however they understood that there might be fucking nothing in response to their assault, as typical.

How is your mother? Mother in legislation?

Kateryna Pesotska, 30, a lawyer, awakened in Kyiv listening to explosions and began interested by evacuating together with her brother, Sasha. By Feb. 26, they had been already in Chernivtsi, in western Ukraine. Her father was in Mariupol, an industrial port in southeastern Ukraine that might quickly endure a brutal siege. On Feb. 26, they argued about the struggle. “He was telling me that Kyiv is just not being bombed. This was our final discuss as a result of on March 5 he blew up on a mine at the seaside on the left shore in Mariupol.”


Kateryna Pesotska

All good. Right now we had been strolling on the seaside on the left financial institution. Not a single particular person round. In the morning the planes had been flying. Taking pictures. How are you doing?

We’re in Chernivtsi with Sasha

Discovered a home, cleansing it as much as stay right here a bit

Let’s not discuss it

I really like you too. Take care of your self

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