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From A Basement In Kyiv

Ukraininan photographer Lisa Bukreyeva keeps a war diary during the first days of Russia’s invasion in her country.

- Day 1 - It’s impossible to be ready, no matter what you’ve done beforehand. Russia attacked Ukraine, today at dawn, in different regions. All day long, my family and I have been building a shelter in the basement of my mom’s house, supporting loved ones and mourning the dead. - Day 3 - The night was heavy, I hardly slept. Explosions and gunshots were heard for 24 hours with little interruption. But we’re still good, we’re safe. Please, appreciate peace.

- Day 4 - Today I managed to take a shower and have a family meal at the table, instead of eating under the table. In Kyiv it’s sunny, and no matter what, lunch with family is priceless. We’re preparing for a two-day curfew. We’ll be fine, we have no choice. - Day 5 - It’s a crime against humanity. In Kharkiv they shelled residential quarters. They tried to destroy Chernigiv. A lot of civilian casualties. We went to donate blood, my mom has AB type, but in the hospital they ran out of canisters. We go back to the shelter. When the air alarm sounds we put a mattress on top of our heads. My brother says: «Let’s hope, let’s hope». He’s fourteen.

- Day 6 - I’m not afraid anymore, I’ve learned to tell the difference between the sound of explosions. Time goes by as slow as before. - Day 8 - Because of the lack of sleep, it seems like it’s all one long day. But the diary helps keep track of time. Now it’s harder to remember a peaceful life, how it used to be. You think it’s going to be forever.

- Day 9 - Yesterday was the hardest day since the war began. There was a disagreement within the family, someone wanted to leave, someone wanted to stay. But we can’t split up, no matter what happens. We decided to stay in Kyiv. - Day 10 - I realized I don’t remember what it was like to walk and sleep without shoes. It feels like I was born wearing shoes. In case of a quick evacuation you have to be fully dressed, including the coat.

- Day 11 - It was snowing this morning, and at first I thought it was ashes, but it’s just such a spring in Kyiv this year. I’ve been thinking a lot about photography today. Whether we need pictures that break hearts. - Follow
Lisa Bukreyeva’s
work in Kyiv.

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