Employees from Havas' affiliate in Ukraine have asked their wider network to share their updates broadly to shed light on their individual experiences. All of these people are still in Ukraine. You can read their personal testimonials below. All imagery has been provided by them.
Alena, Account Director
We woke up at 5:40 in the morning to a telephone call from my grandmother. She was screaming hysterically on the other side of the line: Alyona! Russia is bombing us... In an hour, we packed our stuff and got into the car to head for Irpin. The kindergarten managed by my husband is located [there]. There are five groups in the kindergarten. We immediately contacted every parent to inform them that, in case they need help, they can come to the kindergarten; there is a basement stocked up with food.
Some have left Kyiv, and those who have stayed are ready to help our military in every possible way. Currently, we are cooking lunches for our warriors. For the time of the shooting, my husband stays on the second floor, making sure the enemy isn't walking the streets.
When the attacks are over, I work in the basement launching media campaigns and coordinating the actions of the creative team. We prepare the content that helps tell the world and the citizens of Russia about the crimes that Putin's regime is committing on our land.
The kids are already used to getting dressed quickly and heading to the shelter. But they are still awfully scared when we are being bombed... However, we believe that we and the civilised world will come victorious.
Glory to Ukraine! (Slava Ukraini)
Julia, Senior Designer
24th, on Thursday, we were still relatively calm, and on February 25th, hell began. We woke up at 5am from a strong explosion nearby, the house shook and the car alarm went off in the parking lot.
Our military blew up a bridge 2km from us to stop and destroy a column of tanks. This fear is indescribable, because it seems that every explosion is directed against your life…
We hid in the distance with the dogs we had to walk. But sabotage groups appeared in the city, walking the streets, breaking into houses and firing on civilian vehicles.
Over time, we learned that they had left marks to correct the fire, and then two blocks away, they fired at the orphanage. In the evening there was constant shelling, we held hands, cried and said goodbye, and I dreamed of a normal life. I wanted to walk dogs, play board games and watch funny videos…
When everything calmed down, we went up to the apartment to eat, gather strength and maybe work a little with colleagues… a rocket flew nearby to an apartment building…
For three days in a row, it is very difficult to understand that at any moment life can end, either yours or your family's. And every time I go to the shelter, I think that everything, now we will definitely be blown up… they are mad with anger.
Daria, Senior Copywriter
I woke up from my mother's call at four in the morning: "Dasha, it has begun." I was not surprised - I expected any trash from the Russians. I went to take a bath and began to collect a Force Majeure suitcase. I had been collecting it for four hours, because I could not concentrate.
The most urgent question my boyfriend and I faced was ‘leave or stay in Kyiv?’. The war has begun. My mom is on the other side of Kyiv. We have two cats and no cat carriers. We decided to stay. We love Kyiv and don't want to see Russian flags here.
And now we live ‘in two houses’: in a shelter during explosions and at night. In the morning we go up to the apartment to feed the cats and wash our faces.
The first hit on an apartment building happened a few blocks from my mom. Then they closed the Left Bank. I was in a panic. I couldn't work. Couldn't think clearly. I saw that my colleagues in the chats became more active, but for the first four days I simply could not force myself to think and be creative.
Today, with the help of tears and persuasion, I moved my mother to my shelter.
What will happen tomorrow? I don't know, but I believe in our army and our victory.
Glory to Ukraine! (Slava Ukraini!)
Inna, Senior Copywriter
On the 25th, my husband, my two sons and I fled from Kyiv to a remote village because it is more convenient to spend the night in the village than in the Kyiv basement. Although eight children and 10 adults live in the same old house with us. All facilities are outside, water in the well, no wifi, no shop… but all relatives are safe.
And you know what else is absent? Explosions. There is no expectation and ‘what else will ‘the old man’ from the bunker order?’ Imagine - there are no ‘modern facilities’, but I have never understood what is the most important!
We have no fear, no tears either. There is clear understanding that we need to do what we can. It's not just important! This helps to distract yourself from the prevailing stress everywhere.
Therefore, during the last couple of days we have been actively working with the whole team and with colleagues from all over the country on various campaigns. We are running an information war, informing the world what is really happening, we are at war with Russia, but verbally.
We have all become much stronger, wiser and more united! I believe Ukraine will win! And it is very important not to be left alone in this struggle.
Glory to Ukraine! Slava Ukraini!