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Diaries from Kyiv: One Hundred Days of the War

Diaries from Kyiv: One Hundred Days of the War

Kyiv (Dagbladet): On Friday, June 3, it’s 100 days since Russia fought an all-out war against Ukraine. Now we are starting to write “Russia” in lowercase. We call the Russian Ministry of Defense the Ministry of Insults and Killings. I stopped typing in Russian when I share updates on Facebook. Now I write only in Ukrainian or English. In everyday life, I speak Ukrainian much more, despite the fact that Russian is my native language. I said goodbye to one of my Russian friends and cut off contact with the others. Now I have fewer Russian “friends” than the number of fingers.

One hundred days of war turned our lives upside down. I didn’t call my mom very often. Unfortunately, this has not been possible in recent days, because the connection is not working. For the third time, the entire city of Kherson was disconnected from both the Internet and mobile. This time, the Russians did it on purpose. Or – maybe some distinct population is connected?

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The first reason the lines were cut was their desire to stop any contact with Ukraine, so that the Kherson people would have access only to Russian information. Because he who owns the information owns the world. The second reason is that the Russians want to prevent residents from exchanging information with Ukrainian troops, regarding where Russian troops are – and what they are doing in the city.

Another reason, the most important to me, is that they are trying to isolate the Kherson people from the Ukrainian banking system. In Ukraine, we do all banking transactions through applications on the mobile phone. This can only be done using the Ukrainian phone number. At the same time, the Russian occupiers offer Kherson citizens to buy unknown SIM cards with Russian mobile phone numbers. But Ukraine does not allow calls from there. Nor to call it Russia.

In addition, the occupiers require you to provide your passport data when buying a Russian SIM card. People are sure that the Russians will use this data in a future “referendum”, in which people will vote for Kherson to become part of Russia. That is why mom is afraid to buy a SIM card – she wants to be Ukrainian and also mobile. So we agreed that she would only buy a Russian number if there was only one choice. Even then, the only way I can contact her is via online messages.

But what scares me most: Mom can’t pay for anything with her card – or withdraw money from an ATM. Right now, as far as I know, she has cash that lasts for a few months. I have no idea what will happen next. I remind myself that 150,000 Ukrainians remained in Kherson. So my mother is not alone in this situation. I am glad she is not alone in everyday life. On Thursday I was called online from an unknown Ukrainian number. I tried to call back, but that wasn’t possible. After a few minutes I received a message. It was my mom who used her friend’s smartphone somewhere in the park, where they were trying to get online. So I hope I can talk to her again soon, at least via text.

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Because of these 100 days of war, I almost forgot that we actually arrived in June, which means that summer has begun in Ukraine. Thursday night, here in Kyiv, was the first thunderstorm so far this year. I’ve been waiting for it since April, when they usually come. But it seems that nature somehow protects us. We are all used to the sound of explosions. The sound of thunder, which is quite similar, can be frightening. But it wasn’t me. I enjoyed it. The flash of lightning and the sound of thunder roar following. And the quiet sound of rain in the background. She told me that life goes on and that it is stronger than death.

Translated and edited by Line Franson.

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