“As Russian forces launched multiple missiles at the Ukrainian capital of Kiev on the night of February 23, thousands of citizens hunkered down in subway stations,” writes Camille Squires, world cities reporter for Quartz.
On Thursday, February 24, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko imposed a curfew and halted public transport so metro stations could be used as 24-hour shelters.
Klitschko, a former heavyweight boxing champion, announced late last month that the metro would be the capital’s “key haven”, journalist Jake Epstein wrote for Business Insider on January 26.
“The main bomb shelter in the city of Kyiv will also be the Kyiv Metro, which, in the event of – God forbid – zero hour, will be ready to accommodate people who can take shelter in the event of an emergency. ‘possible attack,’ Mayor Vitali said. Klitschko said in an interview with the Current Time television channel on Tuesday.
The Kyiv Metro, initially consisting of 5 stations and 3.25 miles, opened in 1960 as Ukraine’s first rapid transit system. “The Arsenalna Metro station…is nearly 350 feet below the city, making it the deepest station in the world,” according to Atlas Obscura.
Residents of Kyiv, the country’s most populous city with nearly 3 million people, weren’t the only city dwellers seeking refuge on their city’s subway, BuzzFeed News reporter Clarissa-Jan Lim wrote. February 24.
Crowds swelled at metro stations in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city. Its mayor, Ihor Terekhov, was himself take shelter in a subway station.
He told residents to take shelter. “The metro is the safest place,” he said. noted.
The Kharkiv Metro opened in 1975 and is the second of four systems in Ukraine, a nation of more than 43 million that claimed independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991.
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