Danil Yaylo’s Story: A Week of Life in Subway

Danil Yaylo’s Story: A Week of Life in Kharkiv Subway

Danil’s current place of living, Novomoskovsk, Dnepr region, Ukraine.  Image credit Roman NMSK

Read about MobiDev’s people, who managed to set up their work in times of war invasion.

On February 24, I woke up at 7:30 a.m. to the words of my girlfriend reading out messages in her messenger, “Rockets were fired all over Ukraine, the war has begun.” I expected this, but shock and a little panic still overcame me. Still I had started packing my suitcases and backpacks in case I had to flee. I could leave normally and take my suitcase with me, and if I had to evacuate/run for cover, I had my backpacks with the essentials with me. The hours spent gathering things flew by quickly, and then around 2 p.m. an air-raid alarm sounded forKharkov.

We lived in the center of Kharkov, so we took our backpacks and ran to the subway, which was a 10-minute walk away. After sitting for a couple of hours in a train, we decided to go home, try to get some sleep (didn’t work) and reassemble the backpacks. Reading the news about the constant shelling and threats, we decided to take two plaids and a pillow and go spend the night in the subway. The first night I was able to sleep for half an hour, constantly reading the news.

At 6 a.m. we came home and decided to sleep at least a little in bed while it was quiet and without shelling. At 11 a.m. I woke up to the worst wake-up call of my life – shelling of residential areas, including mine, had begun. There was no time to run to the subway, so we rushed to the basement of our house and there I saw the first wounded. One shell hit a neighbor’s house and another unexploded one lay in the street. Thank God there were no fatalities. Because we live on the top floor, we could not feel safe. After a couple of hours in the basement we went out and decided to go back to the subway, and so our life there began.

We carried a blanket, plaids and supplies there, went out every other day to the store and home to take a bath. The first time we tried to go to the supermarket and stood in line for 3 hours, we went into the store and paid for our purchases to the sound of bombardment. The next days we bought food at a small store near our house, but there was practically no food there, so I had to bake bread at home. It was now the 3rd or 4th day since the beginning of the war. I put the bread in the oven and bombardment started in my neighborhood again. My girlfriend was ready to run to the basement, but I said “stay in the corridor, my bread is not ready yet”. It was both funny and scary.

In the subway we lay on two plaids and a jacket, covered ourselves with a blanket and watched the news or TikTok. There were a lot of foreign students who could not leave, families with children and animals. A couple of times all the subway residents cleaned up the station together. Also we brought humanitarian aid in the form of bread, dairy products, sausages. We had supplies, so we only took some sausages. There were a lot of people who needed this food a lot more.

A Week of Life in Kharkiv Subway

A Week of Life in Kharkiv Subway during Russia was bombing the city

On the 7th day of the war, when they started dropping banned bombs on the city, my girlfriend’s parents decided to go to their country house and we went with them. They came from the other side of the city to pick us up. When we were seated in the car we heard a loud explosion near us, so we moved out of the city as fast as we could. The road out of the city was very slow because of a traffic jam, but after 4 hours we came to a safe place. Although you could still hear the explosions there, it was much safer.

I continue my work here in Novomoskovsk remotely. The PM on my project was more wary and left the country before the war started. Thanks to this, communication with the team and the client was not disrupted and we were able to restore normal work in the shortest possible time. Everyone took the current situation very seriously and on the 5th day of the war (Monday) almost the entire team was up and running and the work continued. I continue to work on refactoring certain parts of the project and my team leader is working on new client requests.

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