‘We’re Scared and Need Help’: People Are Leaving Kyiv as Russia Invades Ukraine

Thousands of people are getting out of Ukraine's capital after Russian forces invaded the country overnight.
people leave kyiv russia invades ukraine
People are leaving Kyiv and heading west, after Russia launched a full invasion of Ukraine on multiple fronts. Photo:

Thousands of people are making their way out of Ukraine’s capital Kyiv after Russian troops invaded the country overnight.

Residents of the city woke up Thursday to bomb sirens, traffic jams and panic-buying after Russia launched multiple attacks across Ukraine in the early hours of the morning. 

Videos from the capital show hundreds of people queuing for buses to leave the city, where Ukrainian officials have reported a Russian ballistic missile strike took place.

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“It’s a panicked situation here,” Yana Borodina, 25, told VICE World News. “People are just leaving Kyiv. A lot of cars are stuck on the road and can't get out because so many cars want to leave.”

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Borodina is still in Kyiv but she’s preparing to leave for the Carpathian mountains in the west of the country. “I don't know how we can get there because of the roads, because of the danger, so now we are at home packing our bags.”

“The situation is very, very bad, and we are in danger,” she said. “We are scared and we need help.”

Veronika Dukelska, 30, is leaving Kyiv today: “My husband, my mother and I are heading west, but most of our family are in the east right on the edge with the firing line,” she told VICE World News. “There is a lot of misunderstanding here. Some people are panicking and most are shocked.”

Oleksii Sobolev, 38, left Kyiv with his wife and two young daughters to a village 20km from the city this morning. “We’re safe, but this is only the beginning. It will get much bloodier.”

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“We had an evacuation plan in case of Russian aggression,” he said. “So we woke up from the sounds of explosions at around 6 AM, packed our bags, [got our] documents and left.”

In December, satellite images showed Russian tanks on the border of Ukraine sparking fears of a potential invasion. As military action has escalated, Western countries have condemned the actions of Russia, with harsh sanctions set to hit the country imminently.