The story of Lesya Snigur, the head of the Lukyanivska metro station in Kyiv, published in
Portuguese Vogue published an article about Lesya Snigur, the head of the “Lukyanivska” metro station in Kyiv. The subway has become a refuge for thousands of Kyivites since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine. There, people hid and are still hiding from rocket fire. Lesya Snigur told journalists about the humanity, mutual support, and warmth that prevailed in the metro in the first weeks and months after February 24, 2022.
She described her professional responsibilities, work during the war, most difficult situations during the beginning of the full-scale invasion, and human empathy. She said that she was stunned by the beautiful way people helped and supported each other while staying in the underground shelter.
“The first month I actually lived in the subway. I simply could not afford to go home, and not because there was almost no public transport. I felt my responsibility for all the people at the station — for the workers and for those who found shelter there. In the first days, we had up to 800 people at the station, including children and the elderly, people with pets… They were there around the clock. Then those who lived nearby began to go home and return to spend the night at the station because it felt safer for them to do it this way. Now they don’t spend the night, but when rocket attacks on Ukrainian cities became more frequent yet again, more people started coming to the station during air raid alerts.
As subway workers, we’ve all been trained, which gave us an understanding of how to act during various types of emergency situations. Every year, we all take classes in civil protection, where we fully practice all actions for various cases, what to do, for example, during a fire or in case of a radiation alarm. This helped us a lot to act effectively during the most difficult first weeks,” commented Lesya about her work during the war.
One of the darkest days for her was March 15, 2022, because, in the morning, a missile struck an infrastructural facility near the Lukyanivska metro station.
“At that moment, I was in my office, and the ceiling just collapsed right over my head. It was shocking enough, but then I just realized that there were a lot of workers at the station, and my first thought was — if only they were all alive. I couldn’t find my phone for a long time to reassure my loved ones that I was alive and well. Of course, we survived it all, cleaned it up, but at that moment it was very difficult,” remembers Lesya, believing that Ukrainians and their faith cannot be broken despite all hardships.