Hunting saboteurs, making Molotov cocktails and running for cover as air raid sirens blare have become the new life for Ukraine-based web developers working for a British firm.
One of the three men, based in Lviv, western Ukraine, opened his home to refugees fleeing the east and donated his blood as part of efforts to help his country.
The men say life in Lviv is ‘scary’ and ‘not safe at all’ despite not having been at the center of Russian attacks yet.
Just half an hour before speaking to the PA news agency, Rostyk Chaikivskyi, 31, said he went to a shelter as the airborne alarm sounded.
He said it had been calmer in recent days with no alarm, but he now fears a “second wave” could start.
“A few days in a row, four or five, there were no alarms in Lviv and it was really weird because for 10 days in a row we heard alarms every day.
“And now it’s started again,” he said, adding, “It’s scary.”
Mr Chaikivskyi, whose wife Anastasiia voluntarily helps the refugees, said they moved to his wife’s parents’ house with their five-year-old daughter Melanie because there was a better basement for shelter .
He says they are staying at home as much as possible, adding: “It’s complicated to relax and we’re not living our usual life at the moment.”
They have no intention of leaving Ukraine, with Mr Chaikivskyi saying: “It’s just fairer to be with our people here.”
Vitaliy Yaruta, 28, has opened his spare room to refugees and has already taken in a couple from Kiev, a pregnant woman and her four-year-old daughter from Kharkiv, and a 23-year-old woman who had an 18-month pregnancy . -old girl.
He said those who fled are “traumatized”, adding: “A lot of people are stressed and panicking.”
Mr. Yaruta currently shares his home with a man from Mykolaiv and plans to continue hosting people.
He told PA: “I’m doing this because I can do it, and someone needs shelter. For me, it doesn’t matter. »
He added: “A lot of people, we have, I guess, survivor syndrome.”
Mr Yaruta said he had donated blood and prepared Molotov cocktails.
He said that in a single day, 3,000 Molotov cocktails were sent to Kyiv, and he has since heard that 15,000 were sent.
Volodymyr Senyk, 28, said when the war started he wanted to help the army, but there were so many experienced men who were hired that he joined the city security patrols instead. search for saboteurs.
He said that involved helping police check cars and check people’s documents on the street.
Mr Senyk said his wife, the boss of a social media agency, now makes nets and bakes bread for the army.
“We just try to help however we can,” he said.
Mr Senyk said he and his friends had planned to go on holiday to Sri Lanka in March.
“But now we don’t want to leave our country and we stay here until the end because this is our land,” he said.
Mr Senyk said life had gotten “really scary”, adding: “We have a lot of relatives here, old relatives. My dad has a problem with his legs and he can’t go fast in a shelter.
Mr. Senyk has now stopped patrolling and is undergoing military training where he is learning tactics.
The three men work for British political communications firm Cast From Clay, which was founded in the wake of Brexit with the aim of fostering engagement between political pundits and the general public.
Tom Hashemi, managing partner at Cast From Clay, told PA: “Things have changed tremendously. Two weeks ago the content of my conversations with Rostyk, Volodymyr and Vitaliy was planning future web releases, planning capacity, fixing bugs, determining if we can do what we promised the client at the time where the customer wants it.
“Now it’s completely different. Today’s conversation is about what’s going on in the field, how are they feeling, conversations about mental health and emotional well-being and trying to, I guess, navigate our way through that.