Powerful footage shows opera singer leading Ukrainian national anthem under Kyiv station

12 October 2022, 17:05

An opera singer leads a rousing rendition of Ukraine’s national anthem as civilians shelter in an underground station in Kyiv.
An opera singer leads a rousing rendition of Ukraine’s national anthem as civilians shelter in an underground station in Kyiv. Picture: Twitter

By Siena Linton

An opera singer raised morale as Russian airstrikes hit the centre of Ukraine’s capital city, in one of the largest attacks since the invasion began.

Sheltering in a subway beneath Kyiv’s main railway station, a Ukrainian opera singer lent her voice to a gathered crowd as she led them in a powerfully emotive rendition of her country’s national anthem (video below).

The video was filmed by Oleh Maksymiak, assistant to the Ukrainian MP Inna Sovsun who posted the video on Twitter with the caption: “At this station, people sing the national anthem of Ukraine together with an opera singer”.

The voice of the opera singer, who has not been named, rings out above the crowd, as they raise their own voices with hands over their hearts to join her in song.

Read more: What are the lyrics to Ukraine’s national anthem, and how does it translate into English?

Civilians were gathered underground as Russian missiles hit the city centre of Kyiv – the first time the strikes have reached the centre of the capital city during Russia’s current invasion.

The recent round of missile strikes, which have targeted civilian areas and key centres of national infrastructure, have been condemned by various world leaders, including Pope Francis who called the attacks “a hurricane of violence”, and French President Emmanuel Macron.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky convened with G7 leaders on Tuesday 11 October, where a spokesperson for the UN office of the high commissioner for human rights described Russia’s recent actions as “a war crime”.

Addressing the assembled world leaders, Ravina Shamdasani said: “Damage to key power stations and lines ahead of the upcoming winter raises further concerns for the protection of civilians and in particular the impact on vulnerable populations.

“Attacks targeting civilians and objects indispensable to the survival of civilians are prohibited under international humanitarian law. We have to stress that intentionally directing attacks against civilians and civilian objects – that is objects which are not military objectives – amount to a war crime.”

Read more: Ukraine’s President tells Grammy Awards: ‘Our musicians wear body armour instead of tuxedos’

Russia’s current series of attacks has hit cities beyond Kyiv. Just over 500 kilometres away in Sloviansk, in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, missile strikes killed innocent civilians including Kateryna, a violinist.

Kateryna, 25, had fled her home on the frontline along with her 12-year-old brother Ruslan, to stay with an adoptive family, Elena and Oleksei Sudova. When a missile struck the Sudova’s house in the early hours of 10 October, Kateryna was killed along with the Sudovas.

Ruslan survived, and was taken to hospital with injuries from the explosion, which also killed a 45-year-old teacher who lived across the street.

Read more: Ukraine’s powerful anthem fills Odesa Opera House, as it reopens for first time since Russian invasion

25-year-old Kateryna was said to have been a talented musician, who enjoyed playing her violin for the local community as shops and businesses reopened, and people once again began to spend time outdoors.

One of their neighbours in Sloviansk, Natalya, said: “The boy and girl [Ruslan and Kateryna] had a really terrible experience in Debaltseve, all that fighting they had seen.

“Kateryna was lovely, playing her violin and now she has gone and Elena and Oleksei are dead as well, God rest their souls.”