A Ukrainian singer says Kyiv residents are now used to hearing missiles shoot through the sky: ‘This is the new reality’


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  • Ukrainian singer Serge Tiagniryadno told Insider he’s become used to the sound of missiles flying over Kyiv.
  • “People are starting to accept it and they’re getting used to it and think that this is the new reality,” he said.
  • Kyiv is under curfew as Russian forces continue to try to advance into the capital.

Three days into the Russian invasion, Serge Tiagniryadno could not sleep as he listened to the sound of missiles shooting through the sky over Kyiv.

Now, more than three weeks in, Tiagniryadno said he no longer notices them.

Tiagniryadno, a Ukrainian singer who’s toured in the United States with Chicago tribute band Leonid and Friends, told Insider he stopped waking up to the sound of every explosion.

“You just get used to it at some point,” he said in an interview.

The first few days of the invasion “were pretty scary,” he said, adding that it “was not comfortable to sleep” while Ukrainian and Russian soldiers traded fire in the dead of night.

Ukraine and Russia have been at war for 22 days now, and there’s no sign of Russia retreating.

So far, more than 3.3 million Ukrainians have fled since the beginning of the invasion, according to data from the United Nations Refugee Agency. Just in the first week alone, more than 1 million Ukrainians left.

The unrelenting war has created a new normal for Tiagniryadno and the residents of Kyiv, the Ukrainian singer told Insider.

Tiagniryadno described hearing explosions go off hour after hour “all over the city” when the invasion first began.

But now, the sounds at this point have become so familiar to Tiagniryadno that he said he can distinguish whether the explosions are coming from Ukrainian soldiers or Russian forces.

“I know different kind of explosions,” he said. “The most good one is when our air defense system is working. It’s like a very low impact. That means that our air defense system fired on their missiles or jet planes.”

“And probably if we will not hear another sound after that, that means that we succeeded to destroy their missile or jet fighter,” he added. “So if they succeeded to destroy their missiles, we are not hearing the second one. But sometimes you hear the sound that’s not the same with the air defense system. And that means that the Russians fired and hit at some targets in the city.”

At times in the beginning of the invasion, Tiagniryadno said he’d look up in the sky and see a missile whooshing through. “It’s like a firework, but upside down,” he told Insider.

“It’s weird,” he said. “But probably at some point you start to get used to it. You see that and you say, ‘Well, it is what it is.'”

On February 24, the first day of the invasion, Tiagniryadno woke up at 5 a.m. from the sound of explosions and Russian forces “shelling the missiles,” he said.

All around him, his neighbors and friends in Kyiv appear to be disturbed by the events but trying their best to carry on with their lives.

“People are starting to accept it and they’re getting used to it and think that this is the new reality,” he said.

Still, he said he can tell they’re nervous because they’re speaking and moving faster than they did before the invasion.

Tiagniryadno’s family has fled the country, but he said he’s chosen to stay behind “because it’s my city and I’m ready to protect it and I’m not going to let anyone in.”

Kyiv is under curfew, and no one but soldiers are allowed out after 8 p.m., he said, as Russian forces continue to try to advance into the capital.