Kyiv residents speak out as Ukraine war enters third year: 'I try to be optimistic'

'Special Report' anchor Bret Baier spoke to several residents, as well as President Zelenskyy

Residents of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv spoke out to Fox News as the war with Russia enters its third year, and scars of battle are rife throughout civilian areas.

Most of those interviewed by "Special Report" anchor Bret Baier expressed hope for a resolution that would ultimately keep Ukraine sovereign and safe.

"I try to be optimistic. I didn't leave Kyiv even when Russian troops were near Kyiv," said Tanya, a local resident. 

"I always [have been] in Kiev. If we lose, I can't stay in Ukraine under Russian [control]. I will have to leave but I don't know – I don't want this. I want to live in Ukraine. I want to be Ukrainian. I want to live in Kyiv. It's my city," she added.


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Bret Baier walked around a city square, where remnants of Russian vehicles destroyed by the Ukrainian military sat as a testament to its countrymen's efforts. Not far away, another square featured numerous Ukrainian flags, one for each militiaman lost during the conflict.

"It's not normal, it's not OK," Tanya added. "Everyone in Ukraine has some relatives, some friends who died or who are fighting now, who are in Russian prisons…"

The city's airport remains closed as long throughout the war, given the unsafe airspace, but an overnight train still shuttles people hours westward to neighboring Poland.


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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told Baier his countrymen understand there is no alternative to the way of life people in Kyiv have had to adjust to.

"Of course, it's difficult… People are tired. Closer to the front lines, it is more difficult, but I think everybody understands for what we are doing this. That's it. It's our life, our homeland," he said.

Another Kyiv resident, Julia, was visiting the memorial to the fallen at Independence Square. She said she was afraid to go there because of the missile attacks in the area, but wanted to express her national pride.

"I really want to cry. Our people are really strong enough, so they are not giving up and they [are] trying to protect our country," she said

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Ali, an Iranian-born Ukrainian who grew up in Scandinavia, said conditions in Kiev remind him of when the then-Soviets were trying to occupy Finland during World War II. He recounted how they were rebuffed by the much smaller nation, saying it is an example of trying to "defend your country at any price – so I feel proud."

Every resident of Kyiv is also expected to download an application to their phone that acts as a digital air raid siren, allowing the population to quickly seek cover during a detected Russian attack.

The dismissal message emitted once the threat subsides appears to be a nod to the United States: "May the force be with you."

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