Airstrikes, long queues and the first destruction: what happened in Kyiv exactly one year ago


At approximately five in the morning on this day in 2022, the capital woke up to powerful explosions – Russia began a full-scale invasion. We recall the chronology of events.

On the morning of February 24, Russia launched a massive missile attack on Ukraine and went on the offensive on land from the north (the territory of Belarus and Russia), the south (from Crimea) and from the east (ORDLO). Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the start of a “special military operation”.

For the residents of Kyiv, the first day of the full-scale invasion of the Russian Federation was remembered by loud explosions, long queues at pharmacies, shops and ATMs, scary battles in Gostomel, the seizure of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and spending the night in basements. “Evening Kyiv” recalled what happened in the capital that day.


On Thursday, February 24, 2022, at approximately five in the morning, residents of the capital woke up to loud explosions. Russia carried out a series of powerful airstrikes on various objects in Kyiv.

Having survived the first fear of shaking windows and the activation of car alarms in the capital’s courtyards, some residents of Kyiv began to hastily collect the most necessary things and leave the city.

Due to this, long traffic jams were formed in the southern and western parts of Kyiv. From the very morning, traffic on the Zhytomyr and Odesa highways was practically blocked.

At the same time, reservists or other unconcerned citizens who decided to defend the country with weapons in their hands, lined up near the military commissariats of Kyiv.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyi urgently convened the National Security and Defense Council, at which martial law should be introduced. The sky over Ukraine was closed for flights.

A few minutes later, explosions rang out again in the capital.

Mayor of Kyiv Vitaliy Klitschko called on the people of Kyiv not to panic, but to stay at home if possible and keep an “anxiety suitcase” ready, so that, if necessary, they can quickly move to a shelter.

At 6:48 the president announced the introduction of martial law throughout the territory of Ukraine and called on Ukrainians to stay at home if possible.

A few minutes after that, information appeared from the State Emergency Service that an explosion damaged residential buildings, a billboard, and shopping areas on 3 Vasylkivska Street in Kyiv (near the Holosiivska metro station). On the roof of a three-story building on Vasylkivska Street, 1, a fire broke out on an area of ​​5 meters, which was soon extinguished with a fire extinguisher.

At approximately 7:00 a.m., Russia fired at military unit 3018 of the National Guard of Ukraine. A cruise missile damaged a civilian residential building near the airport.

At 7:12 a.m. on the page of the Kyiv City Administration on Facebook appeared warning:

“WARNING! Fixed air threat! In case of activation of sirens, we ask everyone to follow urgently in the shelter of civil protection“.

Kyivans began to converge on the shelters. Photo: Borys Korpusenko

A few minutes later, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine confirmed: at five in the morning, the Russian Armed Forces began intensive shelling of Ukrainian units in the east, and also launched rocket-bomb attacks on airfields in Boryspil, Ozerny, Kulbakino, Chuguyev, Kramatorsk, Chornobayivka, as well as on military areas of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The Air Force launched a defense. The General Staff assured that the situation is under control.

At the same time, the KMDA published the first decision of the Operational Headquarters of Kyiv regarding life in the capital during martial law:

  • since February 24, schools and kindergartens are closed;
  • the entire medical system of the capital works in an intensified mode;
  • balance-keepers are tasked with providing access to population shelters;
  • everyone who is not involved in the work of critical infrastructure and life support of the city was recommended to stay at home.


Travel in public transport has become free in the capital, KMDA reported.

At approximately eight o’clock in the morning, information appeared about the first victims in the Kyiv region.

“Brovarskyi, military town #161 – during the airstrike, the building burned down and the 4th floor of the building was partially damaged on the 3rd and 4th floors, the military is conducting an evacuation, the emergency services and an ambulance are working. According to preliminary information, there is one dead, one wounded and five other victims, more detailed information will be provided,” he wrote on Facebook Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to the Minister of Internal Affairs with reference to operational information of the NPU.

Meanwhile, long queues lined up near pharmacies, supermarkets and ATMs for those willing to withdraw cash and buy what they needed for the first time. There was no shortage of goods at that time. Cars en masse continued to move towards the exit from the city, complicating the situation on the roads.

At this time, at 9:50, a baby was born in the capital. The child was born with critical heart defects, so doctors had to operate on the baby an hour after birth. The operation was successful.

In Kyiv, a baby was operated on to the sound of sirens and explosions. Photo: Serhiy Nagoryanskyi

At ten o’clock, the State Emergency Service reported the shelling of one of the objects of the State Border Service in the Kyiv region, probably from rocket weapons.

Subsequently, the police urged citizens to report suspicious people on the streets.

The largest Ukrainian retail chains asked Ukrainians not to panic over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. They assured that they have enough stocks of products.

Later, the Klitschko brothers recorded an address to the people of Kyiv and the world. Vitaliy Klitschko called on the people of Kyiv not to panic, and Klitschko Jr. appealed to Ukraine’s partners in the world to stop this aggression with joint efforts.

Another explosion occurred in Kyiv at approximately 12:00. Soon there was another powerful strike on the Gostomel airfield near Kyiv.

Later, Russia struck Brovary again. According to the words Mayor Ihor Sapozhkain the first hours of the invasion, six people died in the city, 12 more were injured.

Meanwhile, “for organizational reasons”, the red metro line started operating from the “Lisova” station to the “Shulyavska” station. It was no longer possible to take the metro from Akademmistechko, Zhytomyrska, Svyatoshin, Nyvky and Beresteyska stations.

At other metro stations, the subway was operating in transit mode, the passage at the station was free.


Russian troops went on a breakthrough in the Kyiv region. Military equipment of the enemy came in through the checkpoint “Vilcha”. The border guards, together with the Ukrainian military, accepted the battle. At the same hour, eyewitnesses began to report about the battles in Gostomel.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Defense of Ukraine, Oleksiy Reznikov, called on all those who are ready to take up arms to join the ranks of the Terrodefense Forces.

“Take only the passport. We give weapons to all patriots who are ready to use them against the enemy without hesitation!”, Reznikov said at the time.

At the entrances to Kyiv, protective structures began to be erected.

Soon, a military plane of the Armed Forces of Ukraine with 14 people on board crashed in the Kyiv region between the villages of Zhukivtsi and Trypillya of Obukhiv district. Number the dead the State Emergency Service did not specify.

The ZSU plane fell between the villages between the villages of Zhukivtsi and Tripillia. Photo: DSNS

An air alert was again announced in Kyiv. At about 3 p.m., the Ukrainian military shot down a helicopter belonging to the occupiers near the city of Vyshhorod, Kyiv region. The enemy pilot was captured.

Shortly thereafter, Russian helicopter troops captured Antonov Airport. But later, the Ukrainian counteroffensive successfully repelled the airport and destroyed the Russian landing force.

“Hostomel gave battle to the enemy, three helicopters from the 34th were shot down. Russian attack aircraft, fighter jets and helicopters worked. We were forced to launch an artillery attack on the airport where the enemy landing party had landed. The brigade regrouped. Data on losses are being verified, as a result of the battle, it was possible to save a maximum of manpower,” the Facebook page of the rapid response brigade of the National Guard reported.

However, the hottest battles for Gostomel were still ahead.

At approximately 17:00, the Russians captured the Chornobyl NPP and the abandoned city of Pripyat.

In addition, the Trypil TPP in the Kyiv region came under enemy fire. The occupiers aimed a projectile at the coal warehouse of the thermal power plant. The equipment and buildings of the station survived, but the wagon caught fire, at least one person was injured.


In the evening, the National Guard assured that the situation in the capital is calm and under control.

Closer to 6 p.m., the General Staff reported that two dozen Russian Ka-52 and Mi-8 helicopters landed an enemy landing force at the Gostomel airfield in the Kyiv region, where the battle began. As of 8 p.m., the airfield was still controlled by the Russians.

“Not an easy day. In Gostomel, at the moment, there is one battalion of “desertives” (attack aircraft arrived, as well as 34 helicopters, of which we definitely shot down three, according to other data – five). We took the flag [бригади] and withdrew with minimal losses when MANPADS and B/C for anti-aircraft guns ran out.

Our artillery and fighters ironed out the base and takeoff, worked on the Russian landing. It was unrealistic to counter the “sushkas” and “alligators” with a sharpshooter,” said Andriy Kulish (Kharitin Starskyi), the spokesman of the NSU Rapid Response Brigade, which was fighting for the Gostomel airport.

Closer to 21:00, Mayor Vitaly Klitschko gave a briefing and stated that the city authorities in Kyiv are doing everything to keep the situation under control. The mayor asked residents not to panic. He added that public transport is on routes, the metro is running. And he reminded that the ride is free.

However, residents of Kyiv were urged to use public transport only if they work at strategic enterprises of the city and go to or from work.

In addition, in Kyiv, the Ukrainian military began to erect roadblocks not only at the main entrances to the city, but also installed blocks blocking traffic near strategic objects in the capital.

The mayor warned that entering the city may be difficult, but not closed.

At 10:00 p.m., a curfew began in Kyiv that lasted until 7:00 a.m. Before its arrival, the city seemed to be dying out. Many pharmacies and banks closed at 5 p.m. In supermarkets, bread, water, a large part of cereals, canned food and groceries were dismantled.

The Metropolitan worked only as a closed bomb shelter, where people spent the night en masse. Stations were equipped with places for recharging gadgets — dozens of extension cords, metro staff or ordinary residents brought electric kettles there.

Some residents of the capital spent the night in the basement or at the metro station. People slept on wooden stands, benches in the subway, in a sleeping bag on the concrete floor of the basement or on their own belongings, which they managed to take with them to the shelter.

At 10:07 p.m. it became known that the Armed Forces of Ukraine recaptured the positions of the occupiers at the Antonov International Airport in Gostomel, which is less than 10 km from Kyiv. However, the battle with the advanced group of the enemy continued.

Closer to 11:00 p.m., a siren sounded again in Kyiv, and explosions were heard.

The first day of the great war was ending.

Yulia Sergeeva

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