Pause in Russian bombing brings sleep to kyiv residents | ET REALITY


For month after month, nights in kyiv were marked by the sound of air raid sirens and the sound of explosions from missile and drone strikes. Now, an unusually long pause in nightly bombing of the city by Russian forces is allowing residents to do something they’ve been dreaming of: finally get some sleep.

“I really feel the difference,” said Anastasia Tsvion, looking rested after a good night’s sleep, undisturbed by falling missiles or blaring sirens forcing her to seek safety in a nearby subway station. “I can live a normal life,” said Tsvion, 27, who works as an analyst for a group that tracks malicious Russian information campaigns. “Physically, I’m not exhausted.”

Air raid sirens sounded just six times in kyiv last month, the smallest number since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion last year, according to public data.

While no one expects the pause to continue for long, it has been welcomed by residents of a city that has been subject to more than 1,000 hours of air raid sirens from the start of the war until the end of September this year. according to local authoritieswhile Russia sent waves of missiles and drones in an attempt to destroy crucial energy and military infrastructure and break the will of the population.

About 170 people have died since the attacks began last year, according to city officials, but health experts say the repeated attacks have also taken their toll on those who survive, causing sleep disorders and chronic stress.

With the pause in attacks, Kiev residents say they feel healthier, are more productive at work and less likely to suffer nervous breakdowns.

Dara Molchanova, a 32-year-old employee at an information technology company, said she was initially surprised by the new tranquility in the Kiev sky, but quickly accepted it. Her new morning routine includes exercises and she said she can donate more to the Ukrainian military “because you work better and earn more.”

“It was a productive month compared to a month where there were frequent sirens,” she said, sitting in a trendy cafe on a light-filled patio filled with locals enjoying drinks on a recent afternoon.

Like many other Kiev residents, Molchanova said she associated her sleepless nights with the month of May this year, when Russia launched barrages of missiles and drones against the capital, most of them at night.

kyiv’s powerful air defense systems, including Western-supplied Patriot surface-to-air missile batteries, managed to repel most of the attacks.

But that didn’t stop the alarms from ringing constantly, through a city-wide system that sounds monotonous sirens in Kiev or through phone apps that imitate their sound and play chilling voice messages like “Attention! Air raid alert. Go to the nearest shelter. Don’t be careless, your overconfidence is your weakness.”

“I was tired and exhausted all the time,” Tsvion said, recalling how she would jump out of bed at night, run out of her building and into a bomb shelter in a subway station.

Teary-eyed people heading to work in the morning became a common sight on the streets of kyiv.

Many residents developed techniques to get some sleep, including searching social media to assess the risk of impending attacks after hearing air raid alerts. Drones, which are easily shot down? Back to bed. Ballistic missiles? Shelter. Some people said they eventually deleted their air raid warning phone apps.

Ms. Molchanova said that after a sleepless night, she would sometimes ask her employer for time off or “attend a meeting and then say, ‘Sorry, I’ll take an hour to sleep.’” A doctor prescribed melatonin pills to help her. she sleeps better, she said.

Daria Pylypenko, a Kiev-based somnologist, said new patients had come to her since the start of the war and many had been diagnosed with insomnia.

Authorities have warned that another air campaign against Ukraine’s energy grid is very likely, meaning quiet nights will soon be a distant memory.

“We are almost in mid-November and we must be prepared for the fact that the enemy may increase the number of drone or missile attacks against our infrastructure,” said President Volodymyr Zelensky. he said in his Sunday night speech.

kyiv residents have already recently noticed a slight increase in the number of alarms. They have sounded 10 times since early November, and for the first time in more than a month, the sirens sounded after midnight Wednesday.

“If there are no explosions for more than two weeks and up to a month, we are in a strong state of anticipation, which causes us to wake up at any sound and sleep deteriorates,” Pylypenko said.

Some residents said they had become so accustomed to the sirens that they now imagined their sound in their absence and woke up as a result.

This paradox has been captured in a popular memes which has recently spread on social media and shows a conversation between a sleeping girl and her brain.

“Do you sleep?” the brain asks the girl. “Yeah, so shh,” she replies.

“Guess,” the brain continues, “is this mermaid real or am I kidding?”

The girl opens her eyes wide.

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