Utahn in Kyiv shares concerns as Russian invasion continues

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SALT LAKE CITY — As the attack on Kyiv continues, and tens of thousands of Ukrainians flee, one Utahn is waiting out the attack in his apartment.

He can hear gun battles and explosions miles away, but right now, there are no Russian troops outside his window.

In a phone interview, David Anderson said he does not fear for his safety, but he does fear for the future of Ukraine. He admitted some might call him naïve, but he's spent plenty of time in war zones as a former Department of Defense contractor.

"It's a little bit like an old 'Twilight Zone,'" Anderson said, describing the eerily empty streets outside his apartment building. A four-lane road that is usually packed with cars creeping from light to light is wide open, with no cars to be seen, he said.

"That's how empty the streets are."

Shelves are also emptying out in the store in his apartment building and closing down.

Anderson lives in southwest Kyiv, which he said is about six miles from the main assault on the city to the north. He hears the war in spurts.

"You'll hear a bunch of automatic stuff going on, a few explosions, and they're in the distance," he said.

But, he said, those noises of war are too far away to see any flashes of light.

"The action I hear constantly is in the distance," Anderson said. "This part of town would only be affected, I think, if there was an occupied situation."

He does not think Russia wants to occupy Kyiv.

"I think they just want to get rid of the western-friendly government and put in their own and get out of town."

He's impressed by the armed resistance from Ukrainian reserves, called the Home Guard, facing off with the Russians. "I don't think they planned on this much resistance," he said

Anderson lived in Utah off and on as an adult. He worked as a Department of Defense contractor in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other war zones before retiring in Kyiv a year ago.

After visiting Kyiv, he said, "It's like, holy cow, this is such a great city."

Anderson did not think the airports would close so fast and that could be a problem for him. "I don't want to say I got stuck here, but I was pretty shocked on how fast I couldn't get out."

Airports are closed. Trains are still running, but they've started excluding males, and he's OK with that.

"Even if I wanted to go to Poland, it would be a great effort," he said.

For now, he's taking life in Ukraine day to day. He started stocking up on necessities a few weeks ago.

"In anticipation that this could go on more than just a few days," Anderson said.

People asked him if he wanted to join them fleeing the city and he said no.

"I'm too curious and too pigheaded to be pushed out," he said.

Right now, Anderson has water, electricity and Internet, and does not feel like he's in immediate danger.


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