Blasts around, but life is normal in Kyiv, says Keralite doctor

On Thursday morning, Dr U P R Menon didn’t see any fire. All he heard was the noise of a blast.

Published: 25th February 2022 06:22 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th February 2022 06:22 AM   |  A+A-

Smoke and flame rise from the debris of a privet house in the aftermath of Russian shelling outside Kyiv. (Photo | AP)

Smoke and flame rise from the debris of a privet house in the aftermath of Russian shelling outside Kyiv. (Photo | AP)

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: On Thursday morning, Dr U P R Menon didn’t see any fire. All he heard was the noise of a blast. But it was only later, through media reports, that he understood that Kyiv was also under attack by Russia as the latter launched war on Ukraine.

It was an emergency situation on Wednesday morning. And on Thursday, martial law was declared in Ukraine.

The 61-year-old, who has been settled in Ukraine since 1987, said people are worried but they are also trained. “Every institution has a bunker and it is mandatory to have that. It protects from shells and bombings. And as of now, no evacuation plans have been put in place. The mayor of Kyiv has asked us to not panic and to be at home. We expect world leaders to intervene and that peace prevails,” Menon told TNIE, as tension mounted in Ukraine. 

Menon moved to Odessa, a city in Ukraine, which was then part of the Soviet Union in the 1980s. After completing his medical education and working for a brief while in India, Menon permanently moved to Ukraine and got married to a Ukrainian national in 1987.

He shifted to Moscow and worked there for a while before moving back to Ukraine. An Edappally native settled in Kyiv, Menon is a consultant to the Ministry of Health in Ukraine and heads the Indian Pharmaceuticals Manufacturers Association in that country. 

However, the turn of events wasn’t expected so soon, he said. “The situation is indeed alarming. But I can see through my window that people are not panicking. I can’t see the army or any tankers going around,” said Menon. Menon is settled with his family which includes his wife Natalia Menon, an engineer who works in a furniture concern, and son Rajeev Menon who works in logistics.

Menon said he is in touch with his family back home in India, pacifying them. “They are a worried lot but I tell them that we are okay and not to worry about us. India has taken a neutral stand till now. But we hope that (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi intervenes.”

With the martial law in force, restrictions have been put in place, he said. People can go to work but travelling outside the country isn’t allowed. “We are supposed to carry identity proof and relevant documents whenever we go out and other restrictions are also in place. 



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