Kyiv’s main square has been largely silent in recent weeks, disturbed only by the sound of distant shelling and air raid sirens.
But today an orchestra brought it to life once more with a rendition of Ukraine’s national anthem, invoking memories of the setting’s pivotal role in the country’s history.
The musicians performed in front of a small crowd in Maidan Square, the stage for key scenes in Ukraine’s story.
This was where pro-Western demonstrators sparked a revolution which toppled a government with deep ties to the Kremlin, putting Ukraine and Russia on the road to war.
The Kyiv-Classic Symphony Orchestra also played an excerpt from Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’, on which the European Union’s anthem is based – a nod to the Ukraine government’s desire to move closer to Europe and away from Russia’s orbit.
Dozens of people gathered to watch on the central Maidan Square, some waving Ukrainian flags.
They applauded when the national anthem was finished and a woman cried out ‘to Ukraine’.
A smaller band of musicians made up of Ukrainian soldiers gathered to play in Odessa, a southern port city which could soon be the scene of an amphibious assault by Russia.
Musicians brought a bit of life back to Maidan Square, the focal point of Ukraine’s capital (Picture: Andalou)
Ukrainian flags were waved as the band played in a city waiting nervously for a military assault (Picture: Andalou)
The square served as a stage for revolutions in Ukraine in both 2014 and 2005 (Picture: Andalou)
A convoy of Russian soldiers is advancing towards Kyiv but making slow progress due to logistical problems (Picture: Andalou)
It’s feared the Kremlin will try and encircle the city and force the government to concede defeat (Picture: Andalou)
A small but emotional crowd listened to the performance in a city which has become partially deserted in recent days (Picture: Andalou)
Kremlin forces are advancing on the capital city but progress has been much slower than many analysts predicted.
Ukraine’s defence has been resolute and confounded expectations, inflicting heavy losses on Russia’s manpower and equipment while holding key positions.
A long convoy sent to encircle the city has been creeping towards Kyiv but has struggled with logistical problems.
Bogged down on narrow roads and running out of fuel, Ukraine’s air force and drones have been able to pick elements off.
Thousands of civilians have joined local defence units to support Ukraine’s armed forces and civilians in some areas under Russian control have gathered on streets to protest.
The capital has mostly been spared the heavy shelling that devastated parts of other urban centres including Kharkiv, Mariupol and Sumy.
But the Institute for the Study of War expects a renewed assault on Kyiv in the next 24-96 hours.
An analysis read: ‘The reported appearance of forces belonging to Chechen leader Ramazan Kadyrov, Russia’s Rosgvardia internal security formations, and the Liga (former Wagner) Private Military Company in the western outskirts of Kyiv may indicate that the Russian military is struggling to assemble sufficient conventional combat power to launch its assault on the capital.
‘Russian forces near Kyiv made limited gains and prepared for limited drives to continue their attempted encirclement to the west.’
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