In the capital of Ukraine, a gentle calm

KYIV, Ukraine – On a snow-covered sidewalk in central Kyiv, Liza Zholondevska admitted she was anxious about what might lie ahead.

“Honestly? I’m a little worried,” she told Fox News in the shadow of the medieval, golden dome St. Sophia’s Cathedral.

But, she added, instability is nothing new here.

“Since 2014 [when Russia invaded Ukraine and annexed Crimea], nothing has changed, “she said with a smile.” Just years of bad news. “

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The atmosphere in Kiev is calm: bars and restaurants are busy and there are no signs of panic shopping in the shops. It can sometimes feel as if it is distant Western governments that are most concerned about a possible attack, rather than the citizens who would feel its full force.

But Kyivans recognize an underlying tension, with an estimated 100,000 Russian troops stationed close to the Ukrainian border.

Members of Ukraine's territorial defense forces, voluntary military units from the armed forces, are training in a city park in Kiev, Ukraine, on Saturday, January 22, 2022. Dozens of civilians have joined Ukraine's army reserves in recent weeks for fear of Russian invasion.

Members of Ukraine’s territorial defense forces, voluntary military units from the armed forces, are training in a city park in Kiev, Ukraine, on Saturday, January 22, 2022. Dozens of civilians have joined Ukraine’s army reserves in recent weeks for fear of Russian invasion.
(AP Photo / Efrem Lukatsky)

“People are trying to concentrate on their daily work,” said Denys Jatsyshyn, director of the US-Ukraine Business Council.

“But this is a part of life that you can not just step back and avoid.”

He acknowledged that insecurity seems to go with the territory.

“When you border Russia, you should be ready for unpleasant surprises,” he said.

But he added that Ukrainians are “ready to fight” after witnessing eight years of fierce war with Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country.

Vladimir President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, January 25, 2022.

Vladimir President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, January 25, 2022.
(Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

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It is a message the United States is seeking to reinforce.

America’s top diplomat in Ukraine, ChargĂ© d’Affaires Kristina Kvien, was at the airport here on Tuesday when another plane with US security assistance arrived.

“Russian soldiers sent to Ukraine at the instigation of the Kremlin will face fierce resistance,” she said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy answered questions from the media in Kiev, Ukraine on Friday.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy answered questions from the media in Kiev, Ukraine on Friday.
(Ukrainian Presidential Press Office / AP)

“The losses to Russia will be huge.”

In the immediate term, the uncertainty will hit Ukraine’s economy.

Liza Zholondevska, who spoke to us outside the cathedral, said her work as a real estate agent with foreign clients had dried up.

“It was all good in November and December, and now – I do not know what to do. I have no job,” she said.

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“Nobody wants to invest in Ukraine now.”

Every invasion has not yet begun, but even the threat is already hurting.

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