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In Ukraine’s ghost town, florist keeps open to ‘encourage people’

A burnt-out car is seen on the street after a missile fired by Russian attackers was hit near Kharkiv’s regional state administration building in Svobody (Freedom Square) on March 1, 2022 in Kharkiv, Ukraine.

Vyacheslav Madiyevskyy / Ukrinform / NurPhoto via Gett

  • Most business owners have closed the store and fled Ukraine’s Mikolaiv, but florist Angela Kalisnik continues to sell tulips and roses.
  • The snow is falling on the wide streets of the deserted city, and only a few people have ventured out into the bitter cold.
  • Thousands of civilians have fled Mikolaiv in recent days on their way to Odessa, which has so far been spared the bombing.

Most business owners have closed the store and fled Ukraine’s Mikolaiv, but florist Angela Kalisnik continues to sell tulips and roses just a short drive away from the front line.

“We did not know the war was on its way,” the 25-year-old said.

“Flowers continue to bloom in our region and we do not want to throw them away.”

The snow is falling on the wide streets of the deserted city, and only a few people have ventured out into the bitter cold.

Outside the city, soldiers are fighting invading Russian forces.

But inside Kalisnik’s shop, multicolored bouquets stand along the wall.

And against all odds, there have been customers.

A man steps out the door with a giant bouquet for his mother’s birthday.

A few days ago, a passerby came by to buy a herd for a woman who had found and returned her lost purse.

And many soldiers flocked to buy flowers for their girlfriends for Women’s Day on Tuesday, she says.

Kalisnik says she closed her store a week after Russia invaded her country on February 24, but then decided to reopen.

“War is war, but people keep living to celebrate birthdays,” she says.

“We need to cheer people up and keep the economy going.”

A short walk away sits dozens in line for an ATM. Some have been waiting for more than two hours.

Vitaly is annoyed.

“I do not understand, two days ago everything was normal,” he says without giving his second name.

“But now we can only withdraw 400 hryvnia ($ 13) at a time,” so we have to withdraw several times in a row.

No flowers for Russia

For several days, the Russians have been bombing Mykolaiv, which is located on the road to the strategic port city of Odessa about 130 kilometers down the Black Sea coastline.

But the Ukrainians have managed to repel the Russians at their gates, says the region’s governor Vitaly Kim, and “the battle is being won”.

At a press conference on Friday in front of City Hall, the young politician assures those present that the Russians have been pushed back to 15-20 kilometers outside the city.

“They thought we would welcome them with flowers, they did not expect such resistance,” says Kim, who admits he “knew nothing about war 15 days ago”.

Thousands of civilians have fled Mikolaiv in recent days on their way to Odessa, which has so far been spared the bombing.

The mass exodus has left the city almost empty.

Most shops are closed and the still open supermarkets are starting to run out of pasta, rice and canned food.

Army Priest Valentin prays that the nightmare will soon be over.

“War is approaching, but if God wills, it will end quickly,” says the man in his 50s.

Out on the street, an elderly woman named Valentina goes home with her daughter-in-law Maria.

They live together now after the men in the family left to fight. They know that if the bombs start to fall, they should hide behind a strong wall or dive into the bathtub.

“We want to win this war, God help us,” Valentina says.


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In Ukraine’s ghost town, florist keeps open to ‘encourage people’

Source link In Ukraine’s ghost town, florist keeps open to ‘encourage people’

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