Tasia Shpil, Kyiv

24.02.2022, 00:04

— Right now, I am not going anywhere. And you?

— I’m thinking of sending my parents away. Then I will think of myself.

— Good idea

However I still cannot believe that this is happening


— Yep, I think it is important to leave if they decide to attack Kharkiv

— Do you think they will?

— Um I hope not

But everything is so swift that I won’t be surprised

— Yes..


— It is better to overdo

— I wish you a good and calm night


i had a dream that i am on a train full of people, and i am saying to a little girl: “don’t be afraid, war is just a long sound, it goes in one ear and comes out of the other”, — and i whistle into one ear and into another and pull out a candy from behind her ear


Did you hear?

I woke up at 5:21 from a strange sound – fireworks exploded somewhere in the distance. “Idiots – I thought then – I bet some paid up titushky are causing panic in a sleepy city”. The sound repeated.

Dima was finally awake. We were lying in tense silence until we heard more fireworks.

Do you hear that?

The Internet was quiet, and somewhere in the distance, the explosions of fireworks continued to hiss. A post appeared in the Rusanivka group:

Anybody heard a salvo of shots a couple of minutes ago? What is this?

From comments, I learned that “Putin has just announced the start of a military operation”, — I did not believe that.

The foggy morning twilight shudders from the shells exploding in the distance. Jet fighters are whistling over us, because of that, the apartment looks different. The starlings have arrived.

Then there were many telephone calls.

Mykolaiv: Something is hurtling**,** the walls are shaking! We are at the station, wanting to leave for Kryvyi Rih, but they are not letting me on a bus because of the positive Covid test.

Kyiv: Where is the nearest bomb shelter? Is there anything closer? Please, have a look.

Mariupol: Sorry, can’t talk right now — we are evacuating to the right bank.

Kryvyi Rih: I was on my way to work and two rockets flew over me.

The night before, I bought 5 kilos of photos of dogs, cats and horses with their names on the back. In the morning, I received a message from the seller: “Your purchase has been sent. Due to martial law the parcel will be delayed,” — and a photo of the invoice attached.

I watered the flowers, got some water, threw the first things I came across into my backpack. Okay, Google, how do you pack for an evacuation? Do I need a coat? Do I need keys to my apartment?

I remember that I left the entrance at about 12:00 and, looking around the empty yard, said: “Fucking Rusnya”. But I do not feel hatred, but only contempt, neglect and anger – at myself that I do not feel hatred.


It was decided not to return to the left bank — the bridges. We spent the night in the apartment of Zhenya and Olya. The last time I was here on my birthday. Under the rumble of aviation, the apartment looks completely different. I’m starting to understand the expressionists better.

I tried to sleep, but could not do it: I trembled from distant explosions, passing cars, hair rustling on the pillow. I was only able to take off my socks.

Around 8:20 we left Kyiv towards Western Ukraine. The morning air raid warning followed us in huge waves. It’s embarrassing to leave, and it’s a shame. Lena said: it’s not a shame to not be able to fight.

Texted with the godmother, she is in Mariupol.

— We are still in the city. Tell me, please, are we allowed to move from region to region? Do they allow movement between regions?

— From region to region so far without problems.

— We are told that it is impossible to move between regions.

— Who says that? Trust only official sources

— Where can I find out for sure ... I don’t know. Do you know?

— I’ll try to find out now, the connection is not very good, but I’ll try


I do not see such information that you cannot move between areas. I think it’s a rumour

— Thanks

We went around traffic jams through towns, villages, settlements. Almost in each of these places — a monument to the Unknown Soldier. Now these monuments have a new meaning and significance, new unknown.


From day one I try to keep in touch with everyone I can reach. I even came up with a scheme: write every day at a certain time “everything is OK” or “I need [insert exactly what I need]”. Rubbish, this isn’t working at all. I do it out of an irrational and selfish motive: what if they forget about someone, and someone would be left alone, and what if it’d be possible to support someone, or provide help.

Today I weep for the first time: I would have to leave for Poland alone.


Wrote the war,

guess where she is.

This day caught me on the road: I was crossing the Polish border. While I still had Internet access, I was texting my relatives, friends and acquaintances – how are they? are they alive? can I help in any way? Tried to convince people not to feed the war with their own flesh. Followed the news. Then there was no connection, and I was alternating between praying a little and then sleeping a little, not knowing what was happening there and to those. I couldn’t shake off the unpleasant feeling that I did the right thing.

On the bus – mostly women with children and elderly relatives. Only I and another girl, Yana, left alone. We were stopped at the checkpoint, a man in uniform entered the bus, walked through the passenger compartment, looked intently at the driver and the few men of non-conscription age who were travelling with us. He left silently.

In the morning, while we were standing at the border, a girl of 3-4 years old said loudly: “I didn’t know the word “war” (voyna) before, I only knew the word “wave” (volna).


Polish nature is very similar to Ukrainian. Distant horizons, calm outlines of hills, high sky, deadwood. The trees here are not so lush, they are manicured, domestic, the fields are ironed, the snow – starched, in all the plants there is more ochre, and the earth itself bears a lilac tone, it is porous, does not stain shoes – in a word, foreign.


The Internet connection is back, we pounced on the news, and there – a threat of nuclear war.

There is a concept in Japanese culture called “hatsuyume” – the first dream in the new year, it is considered prophetic. My first dream this year was this:

today I dreamed that at a New Year’s party I found a book written by a man who survived the explosion in Hiroshima. instead of illustrations, it contained a key to the author’s memory, with the help of which you plunge into the world a moment before the explosion. the world becomes contrasted and seems to be magnetised so strongly that small objects come off the surfaces to fall on them along with the bomb. this moment can last as long as the reader has strength.

As long as has strength.


I had a dark dream today. I am at my late grandmother’s house watering flowers and dusting. Grandmother says: it is better to wipe the dust with a damp cloth. I go out into the courtyard where I spent my childhood – and there is nothing in the courtyard except for the horizon curved into an arc and a mushroom in the sandbox.

What a relief: the unpleasant feeling that I did the right thing by leaving the country left me. Now I very much regret that I succumbed to a momentary impulse or fear. I am in Poland, and my place is in Kyiv. The rest of the places are not mine.

From today I am engaged in purchasing for TDF.

The connection with Mariupol was cut off.


The connection with Mariupol was cut off.


The connection with Mariupol was cut off.


Intuition doesn’t work.

The connection with Mariupol was cut off.


I am feeling powerless.

Now everything seems to be inside out: what you are most afraid of —this is what you get. Whatever you do, it can’t be stopped. Only bad wishes come true, I noticed this shortly before the war, but then I didn’t understand what it meant. Therefore, I try not to want anything, freeze, think about the good or just work.

Communication with Mariupol was cut off.


Great Lent has begun today.

No need to be greedy: love is generous, hope is stubborn, life is indestructible.

Managed to buy 10 tactical first aid kits in Kyiv.

The connection with Mariupol was cut off.


The day before yesterday I found the inscription Tasia in my room, didn’t get surprised.

Yesterday morning I found another one, got surprised. Then another one in the evening, how fucked up.

Yana and I deliberately searched the whole room, and these inscriptions were found everywhere, even under the ceiling, we found two. So far, we have found 13.

What I am getting at. When you go to a town of 30 houses where there is only forest, snow and chickens on the hills, what are the chances of finding your name on the wall of a room? What is the chance of finding it multiple times?

This means we will win soon. This is how everything works now.

The connection with Mariupol was cut off.


Why write something if I’m just a plastic bag in the wind, with its handle hitching onto a fluffy Carpathian fir tree? A footprint on the melting spring snow, I am — emptiness.

Shortly before the war, I thought about emptiness like this: any emptiness must have boundaries beyond which it is no longer it but something else. Otherwise, how to understand that it is exactly emptiness?

Perhaps the me-emptiness also has boundaries, but they are intangible and far away:

Yahodin — Dorohusk

Ustyluh — Zosin

Uhryniv — Dołhobyczów

Rava-Ruska — Hrebenne

Krakovets — Korczova

Shehyni – Medyka

Smolnica – Krościenko

Hrushiv — Budomierz

Volodymyr-Volynsky — Hrubieszów

Khyriv — Krościenko

Mostyska – Przemyśl

Rava-Ruska – Werchrata

There are a lot of people at the border of my emptiness now. They wait for days for an opportunity to merge with it, mingle with manicured fields and the ochre horizon, dissolve in crowded cities, waiting for an opportunity to save and be saved.

Now, it turns out, everything is emptiness, which is not a war.

Communication with Mariupol was cut off.


Godmother from Mariupol wrote: we are still alive.


Despite the fact that the supply search for TDF is steadily moving forward and a lot can be found even in Ukraine, every day I feel worse and worse. Small victories will not fill this abyss. It requires one big victory.

I regret leaving. I want to return to Kyiv as soon as possible.



– Alive, not allowed out of the city. Food is running out. Nowhere to buy it. Heat, electricity, gas, water, communications, internet connection - NOTHING!!!!!!

I’m logging off for now

On the way to Zaporizhzhia


On our first day in Poland, we were given yellow wristbands by which we were identified by the local workers. I wore this ribbon until yesterday. Yesterday I took it off, and as if in an instant, I sobered up, and a decision dawned upon me. I am leaving for Berlin early this morning to volunteer as an interpreter at the Hauptbahnhof.