• Iryna Tuz, a 38-year-old Ukrainian living in Toulouse since 2010, chairs the

    Ukraine Libre

    association , which collects humanitarian donations for Ukraine.

    Leaving behind her husband and two children, she returned to Ukraine to see her parents and supervise the work of her association there.

  • Iryna Tuz tells

    20 Minutes

    about life slowly returning to its quarters after five months of armed conflict in this four-episode series "In the eye of Iryna"

  • In this second episode, the former journalist recounts her daily life in kyiv, from her reunions in cafes, to concert evenings and her nights punctuated (or not) by “air alerts”.

Since the last time Iryna Tuz came to Kyiv, in October 2021, a lot has changed.

Russia invaded his country, bombed his capital, withdrew to concentrate on the Donbass.

Thousands of people are dead, all men between the ages of 18 and 60 are in the military, airspace is closed, inflation is exploding globally.

And yet, in the daily life of his parents, the war is sometimes only seen in the details.

For the second time, Iryna confides in

20 Minutes


Lazy morning and day at the lake

Small habits have not changed one bit.

“In our culture, we eat breakfast separately,” explains Iryna.

Back with her parents "on vacation despite everything", she can therefore "get up late" and have "a coffee with milk and cupcakes" at her own pace.

If she continues to watch "the headlines of the major international media", Iryna does not "watch too much TV" and "perceives the war differently" in Ukraine.

On Sunday, she also "went to a gourmet restaurant" with her father Borodymyr, then to a concert, and devoted herself "to gardening" with her parents.

Summer is “the season when people bring back a lot of produce from neighboring villages to sell on the market” at a price that remains reasonable.

And also the one where we go to the “dacha”, a country house “on the edge of a lake near kyiv”, for a day.

Every day, Iryna also meets friends at the cafe.

"Me either, I don't really feel the effects of the war in everyday life," says Natalia, a friend from Toulouse who came to volunteer for the summer that day.

“All service for the army is free”

The McDonald's will reopen, just like this café "in the process of cleaning everything to reopen, after having been closed for five months", victim of the first bombardments.

Like the return to a certain normality on the banks of the Dnieper, also marked by "the return of traffic jams for a few days".

"Apart from air alerts, sometimes you wonder if there really is a war," says Iryna.

And then there is what changes a bit.

The way to go to the


, “by car, you can no longer take the usual bridge” to leave Kiev because it is now “reserved for humanitarian convoys”.

It even seems that, "like all Ukrainian bridges, it is mined if the road to the Russians had to be cut off."

And in concerts, sometimes, the singer now calls for donations between two songs when, on the front of a hairdresser, "there is a poster" all service for the army is free "". 

The war is also present in the shops, where “there are a lot of artistic T-shirts” with patriotic or warrior themes, and on the menu of this restaurant with “a burger in the name of an American aid program”.

children everywhere

However, the city has changed a lot.

Like several statues and monuments in the city center, “the entrance to the town hall is protected by sandbags and camouflage nets”.

"We hear a lot of Ukrainian music in the shops, and we speak the Ukrainian language more, whereas before it was Russian that dominated," says the former journalist.

There are also “a lot of foreign currency exchange points because the economy is not stable, some workers receive their wages in a foreign currency”.

However, Iryna's mother, Liubov, has not revolutionized her way of shopping: "prices have increased a lot for basic necessities", but "there is no shortage or panic in the shelves.

In the streets, if the proportion of men and women has not changed, "there are a lot more men in uniform", and above all "there are a lot of children in the streets".

Of all ages, "alone or in groups", these children "actively participate in supporting the army", notes Natalia, Iryna's friend.

“They sell lemonade or buns, or you can pay to play chess against them,” she says.

They then donate their harvest, “significant sums, sometimes exceeding 1,000 euros” during the day, to the Ukrainian army.

In the event of a night air alert, "you can continue to sleep"

Iryna wonders above all what will become of these children in September.

A month before the start of the school year, "many parents do not know how the school will be organized" and remain in the dark.

The government has indeed left the choice to establishments to continue distance education or to opt for a return to class.

Uncertain, "schools do a survey of parents" to position themselves.

Key element of the problem: "many schools and nurseries have no shelter", and will therefore close.

It is around these shelters and aerial alerts that the effect of the war on the daily life of the inhabitants of kyiv finally crystallizes.

"Monday, we had three in one day," breathes Iryna.

Each time, "we are made to leave stores or get off public transport", with the exception of the metro, which is buried deep.

Our file on the war in Ukraine

By the way, some residents are jaded.

"The instructions are to go to the nearest shelter, but we don't necessarily know where it is", and when the sound of the sirens tears through the night, "you can continue to sleep if your level of anxiety allows it", admits Iryna, more annoyed when the block postpones an appointment.

An option to which his cousin does not resolve, who “hides under the stairs”.

In the face of danger, it is ultimately personal feelings that take precedence over instructions.


War in Ukraine: In kyiv where "life has resumed", Iryna Tuz has found her family and "mobilized" residents


War in Ukraine: Zaporozhye under the bombs and Latvia does not mince its words

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