Crowds of Ukrainian people are hiding from airstrikes in subway station

·3 min read
People rest in the Kyiv subway, using it as a bomb shelter in Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022.
People rest in the Kyiv subway, using it as a bomb shelter in Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022.AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti
  • Footage from CNN showed people seeking shelter from Russian airstrikes in a Ukrainian metro station.

  • CNN's Clarissa Ward could be seen on-air walking through a station in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv.

  • The video shows a sea of people cramped close together in the station.

Striking footage from CNN on Thursday showed a packed subway station in Kharkiv, Ukraine, as people sought shelter from Russian airstrikes.

CNN Chief International Correspondent Clarissa Ward could be seen on-air walking through the densely packed station in the northeastern Ukrainian city, located just 25 miles from Russia's border.

The video shows a sea of people — men, women, and children — cramped close together in the station. Some could be seen looking at their smartphones, and others could be seen chatting.

"Yesterday this would have been full of commuters making their way back and forth to work," Ward said in a clip of a broadcast posted to Twitter. "Today, it has become an impromptu bomb shelter."

She added: "People have been waiting here — some of them for hours and hours."

Ward said people are confused, frightened, and uncertain about how long they can remain underground. She said there were pets in the station, too.

Loud explosions were reportedly seen and heard in Kharkiv earlier on Thursday after Russian President Vladimir Putin said he would conduct a "special military action" against Ukraine.

An earlier broadcast from a CNN crew in Kharkiv showed a group of people praying in the city's main square.

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said last month that his city would use its subway system as a bomb shelter if Russia launches an invasion.

Similar to scenes in Kharkiv, photos show Kyiv subways packed with people sitting, standing, and lying down near one another despite temperatures being near freezing.

People rest in the Kyiv subway, using it as a bomb shelter in Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022.
People rest in the Kyiv subway, using it as a bomb shelter in Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022.AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy, who lives in Kyiv with his family, said "enemy sabotage groups" had made it into the capital in a video address Thursday. He added that, though he is the number one target, he will remain in the city.

"I stay in the capital, I stay with my people," he said.

"They want to destroy Ukraine politically by destroying the Head of State," Zelenskyy added. "We also have information that enemy sabotage groups have entered Kyiv. That's why I am asking Kyivites very much: be careful, follow the rules of curfew."

Circa 5 a.m. local time Thursday, Russia implemented a "special military operation" in Ukraine, which has resulted in the country's seizure of nuclear bomb site Chernobyl, dozens of deaths and hundreds of injuries, and inspired a staggering amount of protests.

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