What Occurred on Day 9 of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

Sixteen days earlier, Oleksandr Abramenko was in China, celebrating his silver medal — the one medal of any form gained by Ukraine on the Beijing Winter Video games.

Abramenko, a prime aerialist in freestyle snowboarding, a five-time Olympian and the nation’s flag-bearer for the opening ceremony, garnered extra consideration after the occasion, when a {photograph} of his hug with a Russian rival was extensively circulated.

On Friday evening in Kyiv, Abramenko, 33, was within the parking storage of his condo constructing together with his spouse, Alexandra, and their 2-year-old son, Dmitry.

Hundreds of individuals have been trying to flee town, resulting in massive crowds and chaos at Kyiv’s essential prepare station as Ukraine’s army mentioned that the Russian military’s main goal was to encircle the capital.

Credit score…Cameron Spencer/Getty Pictures

Throughout a textual content dialog with The New York Instances, Abramenko had somebody snap {a photograph} of his household, sitting on a mattress whereas bundled in opposition to the chilly. Dmitry sucked on a pacifier.

It was their seventh evening sleeping within the storage, believing it to be safer than their Twentieth-floor condo above, not removed from town’s main airport.

“We spend the evening within the underground parking within the automobile, as a result of the air assault siren is consistently on,” Abramenko wrote throughout the trade. “It’s scary to sleep within the condo, I personally noticed from the window how the air protection programs labored on enemy missiles, and robust explosions had been heard.”

By Friday, amid the scramble to desert Kyiv, Abramenko knew it was time to go away, headed for some unknown future. The household deliberate to drive on Saturday to the western fringe of Ukraine, close to the borders of Slovakia and Hungary. In the most effective of instances, it might take 10 hours.

“I plan to go to my coach, Enver Ablaev, he lives in Mukachevo, Transcarpathian area,” Abramenko mentioned. “I’m going by automobile, I take important issues with me, meals, and my Olympic medals.”

Past his newly minted silver medal, Abramenko gained a gold medal in 2018.

The small world of aerials is attempting to supply consolation. Athletes from Switzerland, together with the previous Olympic freestyle skier Andreas Isoz, have been elevating funds and deliberate to go this weekend to Mukachevo, or as shut as they might get close to the Ukrainian border, at hand off provides.

Abramenko shouldn’t be certain what the approaching days will carry. He’s frightened for his mother and father, who stay in Mykolaiv, a port metropolis on the Black Sea the place Abramenko was raised. It sits between the occupied metropolis of Kherson and Odessa, anticipated to be a key goal of the Russians.

“Preventing is already underway in Nikolaev,” Abramenko wrote, utilizing an alternate spelling for town. “My mother and father are sitting at dwelling and listening to explosions. It’s harmful to go away Nikolaev in the intervening time, they need to be there. Would possibly have the ability to go away later.”

Abramenko’s quest is to get to Mukachevo “to consider my subsequent steps.” He’s not sure if his spouse and son will head throughout the border as refugees, like greater than 1,000,000 different Ukrainians. He simply is aware of that, like all males his age, he can not go away Ukraine.

“I don’t know if I’ll go to struggle or not, I don’t know what course of the fellows who’re being referred to as up are going via,” he wrote. “For the time being, our military is absolutely dealing with the offensives of Russian troopers and gear.”

After a few hours of sporadic messaging, the replies from Abramenko in Kyiv stopped. It was near midnight there.

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