Filled with mountains of sandbags and weapons at the ready, Kyiv is waiting. On day 27 of Russia s invasion, the advance of troops northwest and east of the Ukrainian capital seems to have stalled and residents are taking advantage of a curfew to catch their breath and prepare.
With businesses ordered closed and residents told to stay home, Kyiv is a ghost town, with air sirens and distant sounds of explosions regularly punching through the silence and the golden cupolas of the landmark Saint Sophia Orthodox cathedral shining in spring sun.
Read more: Cause of China jet crash still unknown as hunt for black boxes continues
Kyiv mayor and former world boxing champion Vitali Klitschko imposed the curfew from Monday until Wednesday morning, telling civilians to seek cover in bomb shelters if air defence sirens go off.
“For people who have been constantly under pressure since the start of the invasion, it s a chance to breathe a little,” says Alexis, who taught German before the war and guides an AFP team through the city.
“At any rate, they are traumatised, they don t really want to go out.”