The scenes were unthinkable when Russia invaded Ukraine in February and was close to capturing the capital. But this weekend, the people of Kyiv have enjoyed the sun and the freedom from acts of war and flocked to the beaches along the river Dnieper.
The pictures of residents enjoying the sun in the Ukrainian capital have made headlines in several media. “Ukrainians flock to the beaches,” writes the British tabloid newspaper Daily Mail and shows photos that apparently could have been taken from any summery European capital. But it is not long since there were literally dark clouds on the horizon in Kyiv.
Air defense sirens and rockets
The war is currently some distance from the big city, but is raging in the south and east of the country.
At the front, Ukrainian soldiers and civilians are dying in droves every day, and as recently as last Sunday, Russian rockets struck near Kyiv, reports Daily Mail. The people of Kyiv have become accustomed to hearing air defense sirens.
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There are several bright spots. according to The Kyiv Independent has more than 50,000 inhabitants returned to Ukraine by train in the last month. An increasing number of residents are returning, according to the country’s national train company Ukrzaliznytsia.
A few days ago, the EU border authority announced Frontex that 5.5 million Ukrainians have fled to EU countries since Russia’s invasion in February. Including those who do not have Ukrainian citizenship, 7.3 million have fled Ukraine to the EU. But the number who return thus continues to exceed those who flee. More than 2.5 million Ukrainians have returned to their homeland since the invasion. As of June 9, an average of 37,000 Ukrainians traveled daily from EU countries to Ukraine and Moldova.