Kyiv: CCTV shows a blast next to pedestrian bridge
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The horror of Vladimir Putin’s vicious missile attack on Kyiv has been described in chilling detail by an eyewitness – from the twisted metal to the blood on the faces of innocent civilians. Now John Sennett and his Belarusian wife Natasha are pondering their next move – with the former US marine admitting: “War has never hit this close before.”
Mr Sennett, from New Jersey, who moved to the Ukrainian capital in 2020, outlined his close shave in a comment piece written for Express.co.uk.
The 57-year-old explained that the couple have become used to the sounds of conflict since Putin’s invasion on February.
He said: “Our flat had been rocked by explosions before but the closest we were to a direct hit was a few kilometres.
“During the Battle of Kyiv, we had grown accustomed to missile attacks, artillery and even small arms fire just a few blocks away. Our theme song is ‘Life During Wartime’ by the Talking Heads.
“We learned that you have to be cautious, but you can’t live in a constant state of fear. We took our cues from our Ukrainian neighbours and went on with our lives. Ukrainian resilience is to be respected and emulated.”
With this in mind, on Monday he set off with his dog, Philly, for their usual morning walk.
He said: “Nothing seemed out of the ordinary when exiting our walk-up, no smoke, no explosions.
“We walked toward St Volodymyr’s Cathedral on Taras Shevchenko Boulevard which is our regular route when going through Fomin Botanical Garden and Shevchenko Park coming home by Volodymyrska Street past the National Opera.”
The route is one that both he and Natasha do regularly, Mr Sennett explained.
He added: “Behind the cathedral, I noticed more people than usual heading toward the boulevard.
“We came up and two ladies with some blood on their faces were crying and talking on their phones. No traffic was passing on the boulevard.”
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Turning the corner, he saw smoke billowing from a car, parked ambulances, fire engines and Kyiv Police and State Emergency Services personnel.
Mr Sennett continued: “Shevchenko Boulevard has a park running in the middle of it and a few people were still walking towards the scene, so I took Philly and decided to get closer.
“The windows were shattered in the hospital about 50 metres from the burning vehicle. We got closer and saw that there were several cars that had just been extinguished and were still heavily smoking.”
The Ministry of Education of Science of Ukraine building on the corner had pieces of metal hanging from the entrance, while all its windows were shattered, with soldiers guarding the entrance and large numbers of emergency personnel in attendance.
Mr Sennett said: “Someone had pulled a car up a bit with blown out windows which were blocked by what looked like egg cartons.
“They were hiding massive amounts of blood or casualties from gawkers. Philly and I took our time on the way home because it would be difficult to break the news to Natasha.
“The missiles that hit the playground and street would have killed either one of us as they were on our path.
“We missed being killed by 15 to 30 minutes. The war had never hit this close before.”
With US citizens urged to leave Ukraine, Mr Sennett added: “We wonder if we should leave altogether or just take a vacation from the war zone after being here the entire time.
“Warsaw borders Belarus and we are not really refugees. Bucharest is affordable but there’s no direct train.
“Surviving through this doesn’t make you soft, as the Ukrainians well know, since they have been doing it for eight years.
“Philly doesn’t have an EU passport yet, just a Ukrainian one. We’ll figure something out.”
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