Three months ago, Ilyas Verdiev, 35, was enjoying a life of blissful chaos in Kyiv.
A married father of two boys – Maks, 5, and one-year-old Andrii – his day-to-day was an experience familiar to parents the world over, with broken sleep and a bruising schedule.
Across the city, Oksana Goshel, 34, an overseas educator was enjoying a life marked by different priorities.
Along with husband Seva, 40, a company CEO, Oksana was busy finishing the couple’s ‘dream home’ in Hostomel, just outside Kyiv.
Nearly three months on, Seva no longer wears a suit but military fatigues. And instead of hurrying to some European capital for a business meeting, he drops supplies of medical aid to the frontline in eastern Ukraine.
In an instant, war has profoundly changed all their lives.
When the Russian military targeted Kyiv with missiles in March, Oksana quickly grew accustomed to sleeping in her clothes. Why? Well, it allows for a quicker escape in the event of an airstrike.
And for Ilyas, deafening silence has replaced the once maddening bustle of his Kyiv home.
Within days of the start of the war, Ilyas escorted his wife and sons to the Polish border. Unable to leave Ukraine himself, he sought temporary sanctuary in Lviv. His family remain in Poland. They’ve only met once since their separation.
Recording regular voices notes on their smart phones, Ilyas, Oksana and Seva have been documenting the dramatic changes in their lives for the Sky News ‘Ukraine War Diaries’ podcast.
Through the prism of personal experience they’ve been telling the story of the war.
Displacement, the siege of Mariupol, map-changing military decisions made in the Kremlin. These seismic events are not only twisting Ukraine out of shape but these three once typical lives, now made exceptional by the fact they’re being lived in the midst of conflict.
Already, they’ve endured experiences that three months ago none could have imagined.
Yet, life and all its complexities in normal times, remains, against a very different backdrop.
What does the future hold? Will Ilyas make a return to his old life in Kyiv? Do Oksana and Seva have the resolve to remain in Ukraine, come what may?
Three months into the war, stories they never expected telling continue. Now listen to them below:
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From the producers of Sky News’ multi-award winning podcast series StoryCast, Ukraine War Diaries uses first-person audio, recorded on the ground in Ukraine, to give an intimate day-to-day perspective of life in a war zone.