On Feb. 25, the day after Russia invaded Ukraine, Kolya Rybytva gathered his grandmother and younger sister and left Kyiv “quickly and without unnecessary sentiments,” he said, heading west. His parents and brother stayed behind to help in the war effort.

“The decision was made in minutes,” he said, “and it was one of the most difficult in life, but we all understood that war does not provide comfortable solutions.”

Unable to view this article?

This could be due to a conflict with your ad-blocking or security software.

Please add japantimes.co.jp and piano.io to your list of allowed sites.

If this does not resolve the issue or you are unable to add the domains to your allowlist, please see out this support page.

We humbly apologize for the inconvenience.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.