When a devil starts its merciless game, that is called war, it rips off life and turns it into a death ball welcoming it with barbaric bombarding of cities, that turned places of life into cemeteries of memories. That’s how the current situation in Ukraine can be described. On 24th February in the very early morning when habitants of such cities as Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv, Mariupol were woken up by terrifying sounds of death bringers – Russian bombs and troops. Killing children, women using their powerless position to show their privilege of being without back thoughts committing such sins, ruining not only buildings but lives of the whole nation. Pain, fear, and despair became a tree-angled room where Ukrainians are locked up today. Seems like each single tear spilled on this land from the first day to now can be molded into a bitter stormy ocean. It’s almost a month since Russia cruelly invaded Ukraine and started a horror that is still carried by this very day. We talked to our Ukrainian friends about the first hours of the war, and how they have met that terrifying morning. The outspoken names of Ukrainian art and fashion such as Ksenia Schnaider, Ruslan Baginskiy and Elizaveta Litovka shared their feelings, stories and realities of the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Ksenia Schnaider

On Thursday 23 we held a meeting with the team, introduced the new COO, discussed plans and a few upcoming collaborations. On Friday I was supposed to have a meeting with the TSUM department store buying team in Kyiv. I was sleeping at my apartment (with my husband and daughter) and through a dream, I heard planes flying over the house. Then my mother called, it was 5 in the morning, so I knew that she is going to tell me something terrible but I couldn’t imagine what she would say “The war has begun, we are being bombed“. We awoke immediately and went instinctively to the window. I saw many families with suitcases getting into cars and leaving the parking lot. Someone was already mentally prepared for such a scenario, but not us. Of course, we read in the media that Russia was planning to attack Ukraine, but we could not or did not want to believe that this could actually happen. Then we heard a loud explosion. I had never heard anything like this before. Trust me, it’s the most disgusting sound on the planet. Very scary. I experienced complete helplessness and despair. The explosion woke up our daughter. We agreed that we would not frighten her and submitted the information gently. She was glad that she could not go to school.

I texted the team and asked them all to stay home. Since then we have never seen any of our colleagues.

Then I discovered that I do not have milk for breakfast and went to the grocery store. There was a huge queue at the store. Everyone in the queue looked confused and constantly checked the news on their phones and called loved ones. I spent more than 2 hours in that queue. When I went into the store, I found a lot of empty shelves – people bought absolutely everything. Therefore, I also decided to buy random products that were still on the shelves – chocolate, canned food, olive oil. I could not buy milk.
I came back home and cooked breakfast for my daughter, she was fine. I was so stressed, I could not eat that day. My mouth went dry. And it hurt a lot in my chest. My body was shaking from the cold, I could not get warm. I never experienced such stress on my body level.

Before 24 Feb I was pretty sure that I am a cool strong woman. But I realized – I am not.

I was not afraid for myself, I was afraid for everyone at once – for my daughter, for my nephew, for my parents, for my friends, for my country.
This is fear multiplied by a hundred.

It was the longest day of my life. The day I aged 100 years. At night, the three of us slept in the hallway on the floor, away from the windows. There was a siren and we went down to the basement, where our neighbors were with their children.

I understand that it is impossible for people living in prosperity and peace to realize the pain and horror that people experience during the war. Therefore, I am grateful to everyone who responds and helps us, supports us with words and money, sympathizes and prays for us.

I saw a lot of grief during this war, but at the same time, I saw a lot of kindness. Therefore, I have no doubt that good will prevail. And soon there will be peace in my beautiful Ukraine!

Ruslan Baginskiy

А On February 24 I was woken up by the explosions. I called my mom. I read the news. We asked our team to stay home and stay safe. And then I said: “fuck you”. Russia has nothing to fight for except your sick ambitions.

We have something worth fighting for. This is our country. This is our home. Ukraine helped me become the person I am today. Ukraine helped me build my business. My friends live here. My family, my team, my loved ones. We will never give up – we deserve peace, we deserve a future. Putin on the other hand deserves to be in prison. I’m here not to tell you what’s going on, you’ve all seen the news. All the headlines these days are dedicated to the war. A war in Europe, in 2022.

We have no fear. This is our home. And this part of history you would never be able to re-write. Our boys – our troops, our army, our volunteers, our President – are fighting bravely in the trenches, protecting our cities. It is for them we are fighting another war – the information war and we must win this one just as well.

Educate yourself. Every single word coming out of Putin’s mouth is a lie. He is saying the Russian troops are fighting for the people and their homeland, but Ukraine didn’t start this war. Putin says that Ukrainian civilians are not at risk, that he is attacking military facilities. Tell this to those who lost their homes.

Today, Instagram is the most powerful social media in the world, and it unfortunately sometimes becomes a propaganda tool. It hurts us to see those influencers with millions of followers supporting the war.

Russia attacks Ukraine. Ukraine is being bombed. Civilians are dying. This is the whole truth.

In Europe, at night you can wake up only from the sound of a car siren. In Ukraine, we don’t sleep anymore, and the most important application is the one that informs you about air raid alerts.

We are very grateful for the support, but the war in Ukraine is not over. Ukrainian people are afraid of what will happen at night. And when I see pictures from fashion week in my newsfeed I can’t believe that this part of life still exists. I am supposed to be in Paris now, but my life and life in my country look completely different now. Is this fair? That all we have built for years and years is almost destroyed? That we don’t discuss new projects with my team, and the only message I want to receive from all my people is “I’m alive”. The question “Are you ok?” is not even relevant, because we are not ok.

Today is not the time to talk about fashion. The war has entered our country and our lives.

We believe in our victory and we believe in our country. Our mission today is to speak loud, to raise awareness, to disseminate the information, to use all of our resources and contacts.

One day we will wake up in the new world. In a world where the main issue of the day is the end of the Kardashian show. In a world where the word “war” no longer exists. In a world that will be even better than before.

This will happen one day. But today we need to stop the war. And we need the help of the whole world. Because today we fight for the future of the whole world. Future without fear and without sick regimes. Stand with Ukraine. Together we will win.

Elizaveta Litovka

It was the scariest morning of my life. I was happy. The wonderful spring in Kyiv had begun earlier than usual. There were new spring shoes on the shelf, daffodils blooming and smelling in my window, and I woke up to the sound of an explosion waking me up. I asked my husband. Has it started? He replied that Putin had declared war on Ukraine. I went out onto the balcony. The birds were singing. The meanness of what was happening paralyzed my body. Instead of hitting and running, it chose the reaction of freezing. No life experience told me what to do in such a situation. We absent-mindedly got dressed, packed unhelpful things in our bags, and drove west. We took our daughter without food and our cat without a potty.

We drove through traffic for 24 hours. Fighter jets were flying, confused people with bags were standing on the side of the road. We didn’t understand what was going on and at every U-turn, we thought we had to turn back home. We have not been home since and we were not happy.