Diary from Kyiv: I fear what the seizure of a power plant means

Kyiv, day 9
The quiet neighbourhood where Zakhida lined up to buy groceries [Courtesy of Zakhida Adylova]

Zakhida Adylova, 35, is a language teacher and producer for a political talk show who lives in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv.

She is a Crimean Tatar, a Muslim ethnic minority that was forcibly deported from their homeland, the Crimean Peninsula, to Uzbekistan in 1944 under orders from Joseph Stalin. In 1993, Zakhida returned from exile with her family to Crimea, Ukraine. Then in 2014, she and her daughter were forced to leave their home in Crimea for Kyiv after Russia annexed the peninsula. Zakhida’s mother joined them a year later. Today, the three are again facing a Russian invasion, sheltering in the bathroom and corridor of their apartment. Zakhida has kept a diary since the war began. This is her account from today.

Day 9: March 4, 2022 – ‘I’m scared of what the capture of the power plant means’

7am: My mood is blue. Nothing makes me smile. My heart bleeds to learn about Russia’s seizure of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station. It’s gloomy news.

9am: With today’s seizure of the power plant, I am reminded of the accident in Chernobyl on April 26, 1986, which killed some 30 people in the blast and exposed thousands of others to radiation. While I was born the year after the world’s worst nuclear disaster, I learned about it in school.

Today, I’m scared of what a capture of the power plant means. I’m scared that Russia could blow up the station or that it might use it to its advantage and blackmail the international community.

Almighty, save Ukrainians and our homeland, please. Let us be brave and strong.

10.20am: I’m waiting in a huge queue for my turn to enter a grocery store. I want to buy some barm to leaven bread. I see fatigue and sadness in people’s eyes. People must be both nervous and frightened about an unknown future.

While taking some pictures of the empty street, one of the women in the line shouted at me. She called me a “spy” and threatened to call the Territorial Defence unit. She was pale and hysterical. I felt her aggression. But I wasn’t afraid of her.

The pictures I take I share with my friends and the media I communicate with to inform them of what I see around me. The woman yelled for a bit but then stopped after I ignored her and did not run away.

In the end, there was no barm, but there is some at home that my mother uses.

1pm: I dug out my bread machine and it is working. Gorgeous! Let’s bake some bread.

3pm: The aroma of freshly baked homemade bread fills the entire kitchen. I suppose I am not a bad cook if I have managed to make such tasty bread. I believe I last baked bread 10 years ago, but that was out of a desire to try to make it. Today, I bake bread because there is none to buy.

Zakhida Adylova made fresh rolls
With no bread to buy, today Zakhida baked her own [Courtesy of Zakhida Adylova]
Source: Al Jazeera