KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — There are sandbags around the statues and anti-tank obstacles by the side of the streets, trenches in the nearby forests and land mine warnings in the woods. Signs painted on walls point to the nearest shelter, while air raid sirens occasionally wail across the city, which still sometimes comes under missile attack.
But against this backdrop of war, residents of the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, are living their lives as normally as they can while Russia’s invasion of their country continues into its second year.
Although many fled in the opening stages of the war, residents have gradually returned to their homes as Russian forces were pushed back from north of the city last year, and the conflict became centered mainly in the eastern and southern parts of Ukraine.
Shops, restaurants and bars are open — even if customers have to wrap up their evenings early and rush home in time for the 11 p.m. curfew. Nobody pays attention to the angular steel anti-tank hedgehogs by the side of the road, or the occasional pile of sandbags.
Outside the landmark Saint Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery in central Kyiv, people pose for photos beside destroyed Russian tanks and armored vehicles. Nearby, yet more photos are being added to a wall with pictures of those killed in the fight against Russia.
It’s a strange type of new normality, where the harsh objects of a brutal war have been incorporated into the scenery of regular city life.
___ Follow AP’s coverage of the war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine