Six months of war through the eyes of an ex-Kiev driving teacher


the time, Kiev was expected to fall within three days, but now the Russian attack on Ukraine lasts six months. Along a front line of about a thousand kilometers, from Kharkov to Kherson, tens of thousands of Ukrainians fight against the Russian army every day.

One of them is Aleksandr Bober (35). He led a quiet life as a motorcycle instructor in Kiev until February 24. In the meantime, like a large part of the Ukrainian workforce, he has been put in the green. The past six months have been tough and intensive, taking him from front to front, across the country. This is his war diary, based on instant messages he sent to DecceIt.

Immediately after the Russian invasion, Aleksandr picks up the gauntlet and volunteers to the Ukrainian forces. Because he has no combat experience, he is allowed to work as a courier. He fulfills โ€œmissions,โ€ as he calls it in game terminology, and delivers food, fuel and documents from the intelligence services.

In February, he sounds combative and convinced that his country will stand up against the Russians. โ€œBut it will be difficult if it takes months,โ€ he writes after the first week of the Kiev siege.

Aleksandr‘s jobs quickly become more difficult. In mid-March, he cooperates in transporting a tank to the southern front, near Mykolaiv. That’s no longer a game: a rocket that comes down before his eyes seems to be fatal to him. There was an angel on his shoulder, the explosive does not go off.

At night, he sleeps in the tank, can be seen in this video diary by Aleksandr:

Even at home in Kiev, the situation remains risky. The capital has been bombarded from the north for weeks, and missiles regularly hit in its Obolon district. Nevertheless, the habituation strikes: โ€œSometimes I sleep through the air alarm. It doesn‘t scare you anymore, and that’s scary,โ€ he writes in mid-March.

At the

beginning of April, the Russians suddenly withdrew from the Kiev area. Soon, the world is introduced to horrific war stories from places like Irpin, Botsha and Borodjanka. Aleksandr rushes to his 89-year-old grandmother in Prybirsk, which was also occupied by the Russians. She turns out to be incredibly shocked, but okay, despite blood pressure and heart problems.

The reunion with his grandmother was emotional:

His grandmother is housed in relatively safe Kiev for a while. Aleksandr himself moves on to Chernihiv, the northeastern city that the Russians were unable to get their hands on despite a weeks of fierce struggle. The devastation is great. Aleksandr helps the clean-up services clean up the city. His work for the armed forces is getting more serious.

โ€œI‘m officially enlisting in the army,โ€ Applies Aleksandr at the end of April, along with a photo of his contract. He is trained to use drones to locate and eliminate enemy forces. The coming weeks are all about training, training, training.

It’s tough, but โ€œsometimes funny and fun,โ€ he writes. The atmosphere in the battalion is good and there is a lot of laughs. It is not a long training, at the beginning of June, the first battle is already being fought at the front near Kharkov. โ€œWe took out enemy artillery from helicopters,โ€ he proudly says.

At the beginning of July, Aleksandr‘s battalion is transferred to the region north of Kiev. By chance, he becomes responsible for protecting, among others, Prybirsk, his grandmother’s village. โ€œLast time I visited her as a grandson, now as a soldier.โ€

It seems safe, but the threat around Kiev has never gone away, says Aleksandr. โ€œIt remains dangerous because Russia is doing everything in its power to involve Belarus in the fight for another attack on Kiev. They can attack at any time, otherwise they just want to keep us busy.โ€ The Russians stay away for the time being, and Aleksandr travels to the front.

โ€œWe are now close to Donetsk,โ€ Aleksandr sends on July 31, with a photo of his thumb in the air. โ€œWe are now regrouping, then we are going to hell. We‘re going to look for the enemy.โ€ He doesn’t want to reveal too many details, but with drones, he tracks down Russian troops and then takes them out. Aleksandr is always brought to the front for three days.

His battalion continues to be successful, he says. After the attack, the Russian soldiers killed or captured are taken to exchange them for captured Ukrainian soldiers.

There are constant explosions, can be heard in this video in which Aleksandr looks back on the past few months:

Over the past six months, his life has been completely messed up, concludes Aleksandr. โ€œI had big plans for our motorcycle riding school. Now I‘m far from my normal life.โ€ Nevertheless, there is also good news: โ€œNone of my friends or familyhas been killed or injured, that makes me happy.โ€

In February, he hoped that the battle would be decided in a few months; Aleksandr is now taking into account years of conflict. He has decided to stay in the army. โ€œI never wanted to be a military man, but I had to. It’s the only way out of this.โ€