When the siren screams, you will have lower than 10 minutes to seek out shelter. Grab your ID, passport and no matter you must preserve your self heat within the frigid Kyiv night time.

Leave the remainder behind.

It’s 23 flights of stairs from the house to the road after which there’s a rush of individuals heading towards the bomb shelter that was once a parking storage.

Packed between the concrete pillars, you huddle and wait. You hearken to the siren, praying that silence breaks the cry — and no more explosions from rockets you’ve seen within the sky.

In the crush of fellow Ukrainians, it doesn’t matter that the ID you maintain carries the title of probably the most beloved hockey gamers within the nation’s historical past. It doesn’t matter that you just performed greater than 1,085 NHL video games for 5 totally different groups or that you just had been a two-time All-Star. It doesn’t matter that you just as soon as wore the Russian sweater, profitable an Olympic silver medal — or that you just completed your taking part in days with Dynamo Moscow.

That nation is now dropping bombs on the town you grew up in, a homeland you refuse to go away.

“This is not about sports. It’s about defending your country,” says Alexei Zhitnik. “It’s not show-business anymore.”

Since Russia invaded on Feb. 24, Zhitnik has helped within the effort to defend his nation nevertheless he’s ready. The longtime NHL defenseman has lived in Ukraine since he retired and is now the president of Sokil Kyiv, the storied Ukrainian hockey staff that he grew up taking part in for within the nation’s capital.

For the previous two weeks although, he has been identical to each different Ukrainian citizen able to die for his nation.

“God has the power over what’s going to happen with you,” Zhitnik says.

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