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  • Trevor Greenway

Chelseaites talk ‘terrible’ Ukraine ordeal

Oksana Babiy goes to bed every night hoping that Russian soldiers haven’t destroyed her father’s Ukrainian village. By morning, she’s scouring the news to see what has transpired overnight.

“My first thing I do when I wake up, at 7 a.m. or earlier, I grab my cellphone, I grab my iPad trying to see what happened and whether the area is affected,” Babiy told the Low Down from her Chelsea home. “This is my life now. This is where I’m glued.”

Ivan Babiy picks some grapes in his garden in a small town just outside of Chernihiv, Ukraine. Photo courtesy Oksana Babiy

Oksana’s 79-year-old father, Ivan Babiy, lives in a small town near Chernihiv, about 150 kilometres northeast of Kyiv, where some of the most intense fighting has occurred. Her dad and his neighbours spent the first few days of the war sheltering in basement cellars as air raid sirens blasted day and night, warning civilians of imminent airstrikes. Most residents have emergency bags packed by the door in case they have to leave in haste.

“The first days, where they are, they heard a lot of air sirens because there are lots of planes goin