It’s not clear why Valentyna Katkova cries more: illness and old age, or the fact that she now lives in a Kiev metro, fleeing Russian bombings.

The 77-year-old is one of about 200 Kievans who have found shelter in a metro station in the city’s northwest, as Moscow’s troops slowly try to encircle the city.

Some of them are elderly people, who prefer the leatherette seats of the subway to sleeping on mattresses or in tents on the granite floor of the Syrets station.

Dressed in a lilac coat and a knitted hat, Katkova appears in the sliding doors of a blue subway with a yellow stripe – the national colors of Ukraine.

She is hard of hearing, speaks unintelligibly and cannot stop crying when asked how many days and nights she has spent in the cold and damp underground dungeon.

“Since February 24,” says the woman, the date Russia invaded Ukraine.

Her daughter, son-in-law, son and granddaughter have spent their nights on the station’s 100-meter high platform for the past three weeks.

“And I, as an old man, am here. That’s because I had a stroke, a heart attack — so here I am, sleeping in the carriage,” Katkova said.

She barely fits in the hard seats in the car, a plastic water bottle and a cup resting on the windowsill above her.

‘Life is more important’
The Kiev metro, with some of the deepest stations in the world, has been a refuge for thousands of Kiev since the early days of the war.

Train traffic continues on only one of the tracks of each of the stations, while the other now houses a train for those who want to live there.

Seventy-year-old Nina Piddubna, Katkova’s neighbor in the next car, complains that she felt unwell during the first few days of her stay here.

“I felt very bad here, I had a fever,” says the woman, sitting in the car and wrapped in a blue woolen blanket.

She adds that she even lost consciousness one day, although the “caring” subway crew quickly gave her first aid.

But Piddubna is poised to endure such rigors for the sake of safety, provided by the station which is 60 meters (197 feet) deep underground.

“We have no shelter at all” in her apartment just a few kilometers from the fierce fighting in the northwestern suburbs of Kiev, she laments.

“It’s deep here. Even if it’s humid and you can catch a cold, you come here anyway, because life is more important.’

This post War between Russia and Ukraine: Amid Russian bombing, elderly Ukrainians find shelter in subway cars

was original published at “”