Kyiv residents 'scared but try to keep calm' as they seek refuge in art gallery after Russian attack

  • Two locals tell ITV News global security editor Rohit Kachroo how they believe Ukraine will stand up to Putin

Kyiv residents told ITV News "everybody is scared but we try to keep calm" in the aftermath of the Russian invasion on Ukraine, as they sought refuge in an art gallery in the capital.

Dramatic pictures showed long queues forming in Kyiv as people try desperately to flee the Ukrainian capital after awaking to the catastrophe of a Russian invasion.

Kyiv residents told of early morning flashes and the sound of an explosion as Russian President Vladimir Putin's forces launched an attack.

Traffic was in gridlock and long queues formed at petrol stations as people began attempting to flee Ukraine's capital on Thursday morning.

Ukrainian officials claimed at least 40 people had died as the conflict erupted. They have not yet clarified whether the casualties include civilians.

People flee Kyiv in the wake of the Russian invasion. Credit: AP

"Everybody is scared but we try to keep calm," one Kyiv resident told ITV News, as he took refuge in an art gallery where artists huddled for safety while sirens wailed outside.

"It was not surprising to us. We expected this. Of course we hoped it wouldn't happen, but it's happened," the second man said, adding that he believed everybody should "keep calm."

"Everybody is stressed but the nation is united and we believe in our army. We're angry," the first man continued.

"We're very angry. I'm not scared - I'm angry," the other interjected

A flame is seen from an area near the Dnieper river in Kyiv, Ukraine on Thursday. Credit: AP

The second man continued: "We have no choice. The nation is united, we help our army and hopefully they will do their best... European and Anglo-Saxon partners will intervene on a diplomatic scale."

Explosions were heard across Ukraine on Thursday morning, including in Kharkiv, Dnipro and Odesa, as well as the capital.

ITV News witnessed queues at ATMs. but also a palpable sense of "calm" as Ukraine's state of emergency took effect.

President Volodymyr Zelensky cut diplomatic ties with Russia and declared martial law on Thursday morning, while urging Ukrainians to remain calm and stay home.The second man ITV News spoke to in Kyiv said he believed Ukraine would stand up against Putin.

"We believe in victory", he said.

"We will not give up. We will fight."

Residents of Kyiv tell ITV News they believe Ukraine can stand up to Russia.

The pair said they were grateful to Britain and Europe for "helping us".

Despite the uncertain future they face in their own home, the pair finished the interview by assuring Rohit and the ITV News crew: "If you feel scared you can stay here for a bit".