There are sandbags surrounding the sculptures and anti-tank barriers along the roadways, as well as trenches and land mine warnings in the adjoining woodlands. Signs painted on walls indicate the location of the nearest shelter, while air raid sirens periodically blare across the city, which is still occasionally subject to missile attacks.
Residents of the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, are living as normally as possible against the backdrop of war as Russia’s invasion of their nation enters its second year.
Despite the fact that many left in the early phases of the fighting, people have gradually returned to their houses since Russian forces were driven back from the north of the city last year and the battle shifted to the east and south of Ukraine.
Although consumers must end their evenings early and rush home to avoid the 11 p.m. curfew, stores, restaurants, and bars remain open. Nobody pays attention to the angular steel anti-tank hedgehogs or the occasional pile of sandbags on the side of the road.
People pose for photographs outside the iconic Saint Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery in the heart of Kyiv next to wrecked Soviet tanks and military vehicles. Nearby, further photographs are being placed to memorials commemorating soldiers who died in the war against Russia.
It’s a peculiar form of new normalcy in which the harsh remnants of a horrific conflict have been integrated into the urban landscape.