Mar 15, 2022 - News

Thinking about Kyiv through a Chicagoan's eyes

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The Ukrainian foreign ministry shared an edited video over the weekend simulating Paris under the kind of siege Ukraine's capital is facing from Russia.

Why it matters: It brought the war home in chilling ways and got us thinking about what our city would look like under the kinds of attacks faced by sister city Kyiv.

  • We put this question to Chicagoan Julian Hayda, who is on a team of NPR journalists reporting from western Ukraine.

What he's saying: "Imagine you are in downtown Chicago and there are daily attempts at evacuating Des Plaines because there are tanks there, and there's a convoy coming from Schaumburg," Hayda tells Axios.

  • "And if you're downtown, the only way to leave is to find a safe time to get to Union Station for a scheduled evacuation train. Oh, and several times a day there are air raid sirens that send you to bomb shelters."

Context: Hayda spent three hours in a Lviv bomb shelter Sunday morning after a nearby military training center was hit with missiles. This was the same day American journalist Brent Renaud was killed by Russian forces.

State of play: Chicago has some experience with disabling bridges to keep people out.

  • Hayda notes this is what Kyiv has done to keep Russian troops from crossing the Dnieper River into the western part of the city.

The big picture: On a philosophical level, Hayda is asking, "What happens when institutions established to maintain peace after World War II and the Cold War simply break down, and what kind of implications would that have for the rest of the world?"

What's next: Mayor Lori Lightfoot yesterday spoke with her counterpart in Kharkiv and promised to send funding and supplies to the war-torn city.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Chicago.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Chicago stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Chicago.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more