Illia, a student, says he was thrown into the kitchen wall and the windows were blown out when Russian missiles struck nearby. October 1, 2022
Illia, a student, says he was thrown into the kitchen wall and the windows were blown out when Russian missiles struck nearby. October 1, 2022   -   Copyright  Natalia Liubchenkova/Euronews   -  

'The blast threw me into the wall': Mykolaiv residents describe nightly Russian missile strikes

Three minutes past four in the morning: we just heard an explosion.

The air alarm went off four minutes later. A few more minutes, and more explosions come, closer. 

In the hotel, not far from Mykolaiv city centre, some guests decided to hide underground. The shelter is a walking distance away, but a relatively short one. 

Air raid alarms often go off but there is nowhere else to hide in the area nearby.

The makeshift refuge is essentially used for underground storage and a technical room turned shelter in the restaurant nearby. It feels like its main purpose is to give the residents some idea of safety.

Natalia Liubchenkova/Euronews
The underground storage room turned shelter in Mykolaiv, Ukraine. October 2022Natalia Liubchenkova/Euronews
Natalia Liubchenkova/Euronews
A banch with a plaid and the new testaments inside an underground shelter in Mykolaiv, Ukraine. October 1, 2022Natalia Liubchenkova/Euronews

Mykolaiv, in the south of Ukraine, is located less than 100 kilometres from Russian-occupied Kherson. At night, its inhabitants are forced to head for shelter when Russian missiles strike.

Explosions in the city ring out loud every night now. More often in the centre, but also in the sleepy suburban areas. Among the spots that have been hit by the missiles are apartment blocks, clinics, a theatre, a bus stop. 

After a while, the residents walk back to the hotel amid darkness and silence.

News about a residential building hit by one of the missiles reaches local social media channels half an hour later.

By 5.30 a.m., the air alarm has stopped. The city is in total darkness, not a single car is passing by, and not a single window light is on.

But not for long. As morning comes, life continues here, although it resembles little of what it was before the war.

Emergency services are working in a building that was hit during the night. At first it was thought that all the residents had survived. That was before the body of a young woman was pulled out from under the destroyed section.

Natalia Liubchenkova/Euronews
Destruction in the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv after a Russian missile strike. October 1, 2022Natalia Liubchenkova/Euronews
Natalia Liubchenkova/Euronews
Destruction in the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv after a Russian missile strike.Natalia Liubchenkova/Euronews

Dmytro came to check on his aunt's apartment, empty as she left Mykolaiv some months ago.

"It’s relatively ok in the apartment…. Some problems with the ceiling, no windows, the doors are blown out too," he says, adding however that there's no chance it can be restored. 

"Oh no, no, it’s gone. It’s unreal to live here now," he says.

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Dmytro poses for a picture after assessing the damages in his aunt's apartment following the airstrike amid Russian aggression in UkraineNatalia Liubchenkova/Euronews

Illia, a 4th year applied linguistics student, was at home when two rockets landed in his neighbourhood two nights ago.

One landed in the yard, and another hit the building next to his. Some residents were seriously injured.

"I was standing in the kitchen (when the explosion happened) and the blast wave threw me into the wall and the second wave blew out our window frames," he says.

Natalia Liubchenkova/Euronews
llia, a student, says he was thrown into the kitchen wall and the windows were blown out when Russian missiles struck nearby. October 1, 2022Natalia Liubchenkova/Euronews

"If you look over there… four or six apartments are destroyed there, and people have been removed from the whole section. That is why we now have problems with water supply, with electricity, with the internet."

Ukrainian authorities say Russian S-300 missiles and kamikaze drones were used in the recent attacks. In this terrorised city, anger against the Russians and "the senseless war" is very vocal.

Natalia Liubchenkova/Euronews
Destruction in the residential area of the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv after a Russian missile strike. October 1, 2022Natalia Liubchenkova/Euronews
Natalia Liubchenkova/Euronews
Damage from a Russian missile strike at a residential building in Mykolaiv. October 1, 2022Natalia Liubchenkova/Euronews

Watch Natalia Liubchenkova's report in the video player above.