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Terrified Ukrainians seek refuge in Kharkiv subway in haunting echoes of London during The Blitz

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Terrified Ukrainians seek refuge in Kharkiv subway and sleep on the tracks and in the trains in haunting echoes of London during The Blitz

  • Terrified Ukrainians, including families with young children and pets, filled Kharkiv’s subway station on Thursday
  • Those seeking refuge were seen sheltering and sleeping inside subway cars in the underground station that transformed into a bomb shelter overnight
  • The scenes evoked haunting echoes of London during The Blitz in 1940 and 1941, when Germany led a series of bombings against the United Kingdom 


Terrified Ukrainians, including families with young children and pets, filled Kharkiv’s subway station following Russia’s early morning invasion on Thursday.

Trains have all stopped within the metro station, which was built after World War II and designed to be used as a bomb shelter, as those seeking refuge were seen sheltering and sleeping inside subway cars.

The scenes evoked haunting echoes of London during The Blitz in 1940 and 1941, when Germany led a series of bombings against the United Kingdom and many residents sought shelter in underground stations and air raid shelters.   

Terrified Ukrainians, including families with young children and pets, filled Kharkiv’s subway station on Thursday. Above, a man carried a baby in a stroller down the steps into the station

Terrified Ukrainians, including families with young children and pets, filled Kharkiv’s subway station on Thursday. Above, a man carried a baby in a stroller down the steps into the station

Those seeking refuge were seen sheltering and sleeping inside subway cars in the underground station that transformed into a bomb shelter overnight

Those seeking refuge were seen sheltering and sleeping inside subway cars in the underground station that transformed into a bomb shelter overnight 

Trains have all stopped within the metro station, which was built after World War II and designed to be used as a bomb shelter. Above, Caman Denysenko embraced his pet cat as he joined hundreds of others underground

Trains have all stopped within the metro station, which was built after World War II and designed to be used as a bomb shelter. Above, Caman Denysenko embraced his pet cat as he joined hundreds of others underground

A woman is seen in somber meditation as she awaits a train leaving Kiev

A woman is seen in somber meditation as she awaits a train leaving Kiev

The subway stations transformed into a bomb shelter overnight as Ukrainians sought refuge

The subway stations transformed into a bomb shelter overnight as Ukrainians sought refuge

Groups of people crowded inside train cars on Thursday, as seen above

Groups of people crowded inside train cars on Thursday, as seen above

One woman grabbed necessities from her home and fled to the subway, she told CNN’s chief international correspondent Clarissa Ward from inside the station.

‘Just documents and some money, and mostly we can’t take cash because I’m not sure that I can pay by card now. And I’m not sure I can get anywhere from Kharkiv for now,” she said, adding that she has a car, but is not sure it would ‘be safe in Ukraine in any city.’

Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov told locals to fill the subway for safety. “Russian tanks are standing near the ring road. The subway is the safest place,’ he said at a press conference. ‘All utilities are working. There are no civilian casualties in Kharkiv. Terekhov asks everyone to stay in shelters.”

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko also said last month that his city would use its subway system as a bomb shelter in a Russian invasion. 

A grisly photo detailing the violence on the ground shows an injured woman covered in dried blood with a large hand bandage as she shows a tried grin. British journalist Darren Grimes tweeted the photo with the caption: ‘A woman wounded in an air strike on an apartment block outside Kharkiv. God help the people of Ukraine.’ 

Dan Rivers, an ITV News correspondent, tweeted a photo of a jam-packed hallway loaded with families huddled together and sleeping. 

‘Kharkiv Subway tonight. Like something from the Blitz in London during WW2. Shocking. Where on earth will this all end?’ he captioned the tweet.  

Salwan Georges, a photojournalist with the Washington Post, tweeted a video walking through a crowded station as groups of people, some with very young children, settled down while explosions could be heard in the distance. 

‘Hundreds of people, including many women and children are currently taking shelter inside a subway station in Kharkiv, #Ukraine as explosions are heard in the city,’ he tweeted. 

Meanwhile, in Kiev, Ukrainians rushed the train station to flee the country. Associated Press Photographer tweeted a photo of a woman and a young girl waiting for a train, captioned: ‘A woman with her daughter waits for a train as they try to leave Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022.’ 

‘Big explosions happened in Kyiv, Kharkiv and Odesa as world leaders decried the start of an Russian invasion that could cause massive casualties,’ he added.  

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