Ukrainian officers wife details life in Kyiv

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Alina, her 13-year-old son, her brother and mother, were suddenly under occupation. The Orks, as she refers to the Russians, “came in trucks, mostly kids in shabby uniforms, and looked around – I felt intense hatred.”

Less of a shock for Alina, below, was that some of the 17,000 residents greeted the army, being sympathetic to the neighbours due to the cross-border contraband by which they make a living.

She said: “Most have been brainwashed by propaganda over the years.”

The invasion emptied food shops and pharmacies, which could not be resupplied. The breaking point came when one of her neighbours, a Russian collaborator, told her: “They are coming for you soon.”

On March 18, Alina left her 63-year-old mother with her brother, took her son and drove towards Kharkiv, through intense artillery fire.

Now in Kharkiv, Alina does volunteer work, but still fears for her life, saying: “There are plenty of Russian sympathisers – I am always looking over my shoulder.”

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