A birthday to recollect: 4 Ukrainians who will not overlook February 24, 2022 | CNN

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Kyiv, Ukraine
CNN
—  

Ukrainians will always remember the occasions of February 24, 2022. However for some, birthdays in years to come back shall be particularly poignant and tinged with reminiscences of a traumatic day.

Natalia, a communications supervisor who lives within the capital, Kyiv, had an uncommon wake-up name on her thirty first birthday on Thursday.

As an alternative of breakfast in mattress, her husband Sasha jolted her awake at 5 a.m. Their metropolis was being bombed, he informed her. “I picked up my cellphone and instantly opened Fb,” stated Natalia.

As she was absorbing the enormity of occasions, a surreal second: A courier arrived at her condominium block with a bunch of monumental inexperienced balloons. “Natalia, rejoice life!” they screamed.

Lamia celebrated her fifth birthday by dressing as cartoon character Ladybug.

“I wished to cry and name my mother,” she stated.

Natalia grabbed a suitcase and in a daze of confusion merely dropped her Panama hat into the underside. However she and Sasha determined to not depart town.

“I lastly burst into tears when my grandmother referred to as me,” she stated. “Her title can be Natalia, she is 90 this 12 months. My grandmother congratulated me on my birthday and wished me good well being.”

It wasn’t the birthday Natalia anticipated. It was one she’ll always remember.

“We went to our dad and mom for a festive dinner, listened to the air raid alert, went right down to the basement. There, within the dank dampness, a younger mom was feeding a child, small canine in overalls have been operating round, cats have been sitting quietly in carriers.”

Natalia is starting to wonder if her birthday is cursed.

“You see, there may be at all times some form of nightmare taking place on my birthdays. Executions on the Maidan, a pandemic, now there’s a conflict.”

In 2014, February protests in Maidan Sq. have been focused by snipers, and greater than 100 folks have been killed.

“The very fact is that I’m an irreparable, rabid optimist and this high quality has by no means let me down.”

One other resident of Kyiv, Natasha, additionally celebrates her birthday on February 24. Most years.

“At present is the scariest day of my life,” she informed CNN. “My son Vadim and me have been to date aside! I’m at dwelling in Dnipro, and he’s in Kyiv – he has simply entered the college.”

She spent her forty fifth birthday worrying and ready. “In Kyiv issues exploded, burned, and the sounds of an air raid alert have been heard. My son and my niece rushed round Kyiv, tried to go away town however returned.

“It appears to me that I died a number of occasions, listening to Vadim crying and being scared.”

It was the subsequent day, and Natasha was – because it have been – a 12 months older when she was reunited together with her son.

“He had been sobbing from stress. ‘Mother, it shouldn’t be like this! Individuals shouldn’t struggle and kill one another. What’s all this for?’”

Vadim himself has a birthday quickly, and Natasha isn’t wanting ahead to it.

“At 18 he’ll be part of the territorial protection. And he will certainly research on the army division to be able to turn into an officer. Who is aware of how lengthy this hell will final?”

Among the many youngest Ukrainians to have a birthday on February 24 is Lamia, who turned 5 on Thursday.

Her mom, Dariia, worries about Lamia’s future birthdays. “At present is such a scary and such a joyful day. Precisely 5 years in the past my stunning woman was born. And yesterday we deliberate to make a vacation for her, however one thing horrible occurred to our nation in the present day,” stated Dariia.

“And though in the present day such a tough time began, she’s going to dwell in peace and happiness, I promise. At dwelling, we don’t present our nerves, we take footage fortunately. At present, as she wished, she is Ladybug, with costume and decorations,” she added.

Olga, aged 59, settled in Ukraine after emigrating from Russia. “I’ve by no means had such a horrible birthday. However there have been additionally some comforts.

“For instance, you might be coming dwelling from the subway, and on the monument there’s a poster ‘F**okay taking pictures’…I can see on the Web, there’s anti-war rally in Moscow on Pushkin Sq.. And the signal ‘No conflict!’ is written with paint on the doorways of the State Duma. My persons are waking up.”

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