Ukraine Day 7 – Luke Jones & Michael Sayre

This Saturday morning we packed up and started on our way back home. We left Zhytomyr and spent the day in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. 

We got to visit a few church buildings, make our way through the Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square), and walk down Kreschatyk Street – the main boulevard through Kiev where Soviet displays of military power were staged as “parades” for years.  We later made our way to the Motherland Memorial (huge Soviet WW2 statue that looks across the Dnipr river from Kiev) by way of the Metro – and an escalator descent into the deepest metro station in the world!

Orthodox Church from the 12th century.
The team overlooking Kyiv on our last day in Ukraine.

Independence Square and Kreschatyk were also the epicenter of Ukrainian Nationalist political protests in 2004 and 2014, since they are the main gathering place in town and just down the street from the building that houses the Rada, Ukraine’s legislative body. In 2014, suspected Russian undercover operatives attacked the protesters and the months-long protest turned bloody over the course of a few days. We got to visit where these tragic historic events took place. 

We received notice from the US Embassy earlier this week that a protest would be held on the Maidan Saturday morning, so we exercised extra caution and avoided the area as necessary. When these events occur (and escalate) in Ukraine, they tend to be very localized. 

Thanks for your prayers for our team. We have felt peace, safety, and lots of blessings so far this week.  We are so thankful for the time we have had together and with friends in Zhytomyr. 

-Michael Sayre

After the church and the square, we headed to lunch at a Ukrainian buffet. While most of the locals only had a plate or so at their table, we as Americans had about 6 plates per person. We wanted to try everything.

After we finished eating we walked about a mile or so to this popular chocolate store, Roshen, where we all stocked up on many pounds of candy. Once we finished with the subway mentioned above, we drove to the 300 ft tall statue that included a really interesting WW2 museum that taught us about Ukraine’s heavy involvement in WW2 and the Holocaust. Once we were finished with the museum we headed back to the hotel for a final Ukrainian meal together and a few short hours of sleep for the long travel days ahead.

-Luke Jones