Diary of War

24 February 2022

Day one

Tom [Kharkiv]

I’m pulling an all-nighter to finish a school assignment. It’s already past four in the morning and I have lost all track of time. Suddenly, my bed starts shaking. I look at the news and there it is: Russia has invaded Ukraine. Airstrikes hit our cities now. My flatmates have woken up by now and we’re all confused.

I call Steve. He’s from Nigeria, too, but he’s been living here for much longer—around five years already. He tells me he and his friends are going underground. I run to the metro station with them.

We bring only our passports, a change of clothes, some water, and blankets. We sleep on the floor of the underground station. It’s cold and packed. I feel out of place. In total, we’re four international students.

We’re so deep underground, it’s almost possible to forget the world outside has completely changed in just a few hours.