Lisa Bukreyeva is a photographer who lives with her dog in Kyiv, Ukraine. The day the first bombs dropped, she moved in with her family. Better to move as one in times of desperation. Below is her personal diary from the first days of the war.

Day 1. It’s the worst morning, it’s impossible to be ready, no matter what you were doing beforehand. It is important that everyone understand that it was Russia that attacked Ukraine, today at dawn, in different regions.

All day long, my family and I have been building a shelter in the basement of my mum’s house, supporting loved ones and mourning the dead.

Day 2. It’s been a long night, an endless day. It feels like forever. Today, battles took place where I am. We take turns sleeping, hiding under the table, and we cover ourselves with mattresses.

Day 3. The night was heavy, hardly slept. Explosions and gunshots were heard 24 hours with little interruption. But we’re still good, we’re safe. Please, appreciate peace!

Day 4. Today I managed to take a shower and have a family meal at the table instead of under it. In Kyiv it’s sunny, and no matter what, lunch with family is priceless.

We’re preparing for a two-day curfew.

We’ll be fine, we have no choice.

Day 5. It’s a crime against humanity. It’s beyond evil. In Kharkiv they shelled residential neighbourhoods. They try to destroy Chernigiv. There are a lot of civilian casualties. We went to donate blood, my mom is type AB, but the hospital ran out of canisters. We are back in the shelter.

During the air alarm we cover ourselves with a mattress on top. My brother always says: “Let’s hope, let’s hope”. He’s fourteen.

Day 6. I’m not afraid anymore. I’ve learned to tell the difference between the sound of explosions. Time goes much slower than before.

Day 7. You can adapt to everything. But the emotional reserve is exhausted with time. You do what you can for your family and other Ukrainians. But it still feels like it’s not enough.

Day 8. Because of the lack of sleep, life starts to feel like one long day. But the diary helps keep the days separate. Now it’s harder to remember a peaceful life and what happened before. You think it’s forever.

Day 9. Yesterday was the hardest day since the war began. There was a disagreement within the family, someone wanted to leave, someone wanted to stay. But we can’t split up, no matter what happens. Decided to stay in Kyiv.

Day 10. I look at photos of friends, acquaintances and other Ukrainians. And I understand that we all share a common look. It’s impossible to fake. Hope he will exit my country soon. For the first time in 10 days I went home, I needed to pick up dog food.

I realized I don’t remember what it was like to walk and sleep without shoes. It feels like I was born in shoes. In case of a quick evacuation, you have to be fully dressed, including in a coat. In Kyiv now it is -1 degrees.

Day 11. It was snowing this morning, and at first I thought it was ashes. But it’s just that sort of spring in Kyiv this year. I’ve been thinking a lot about photography today. Whether we need pictures that break hearts.


All images courtest of Liza Bukreyeva