‘It united our spirit’ – sheltering Ukrainians sing national anthem

A group of at least 40 people sang the national anthem together while hiding from Russian bombing.

10 October 2022

A woman believed to be an opera singer has led a group of Ukrainians sheltering from missiles in a Kyiv underground station in a rendition of the national anthem, in a moment which one witness said “united our spirit” during the Russian bombing.

Oleh Maksymiak, 21, was forced to hide in the station in Kyiv on Monday after an air raid siren sounded.

A missile and drone barrage hit Kyiv and other big cities, in what is thought to be retaliation by Russian president Vladimir Putin after the huge bridge connecting Russia to its annexed territory of Crimea, a key supply route for Russia, was bombed on Saturday.

Mr Maksymiak, an assistant to the Ukrainian MP Inna Sovsun, described the moment when a woman began to sing the national anthem and a crowd of at least 40 people joined in.

He was travelling into Kyiv from his home town of Lviv at about 11.30am when he heard the air siren alerting people to danger.

He told the PA news agency: “We were standing in the subway, there was nowhere to sit, because there were too many people.

“The network was bad, I couldn’t call my relatives, like many of the people present.

“We sometimes (when the internet appeared) read the news about what was happening outside, mainly it was constant reports about new explosions, and that’s why everyone was sad, some of the people even cried.

“And then I heard that someone started singing the national anthem of Ukraine.”

Russian invasion of Ukraine
Crowds gathered around a woman as she sang the Ukrainian national anthem (Oleh Maksymiak/PA)

Mr Maksymiak recalled hearing a woman’s “operatic” voice, and said he walked towards her and began filming.

The video, which has been posted online, shows crowds of people gathered around the woman, holding their hands to their chests and singing.

He added: “An opera singer was singing, and everyone in the subway started singing along with her.

“It was an incredible atmosphere, I think she wanted to cheer everyone up.

“After that, everyone applauded and shouted ‘glory to Ukraine – glory to the heroes’.

“I would even say it united our spirit.”

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