As Russia continues the invasion and bombardment of Ukraine, more than 1.7 million people have been reported to have fled the country.
Many, however, still remain in their cities, seeking shelter in bunkers as bombs fall around them.
One 20-year-old Ukrainian photographer, Valeria Shashenok, has taken to TikTok to show the situation on the ground as she and her family hide in a bunker, utilising a bit of light humour to cope with the circumstances as well.
Posts lighthearted videos
On Feb. 26, two days after the Russian invasion of Ukraine commenced, Shashenok posted a video following a popular TikTok trend, titled “Things in our bomb shelter that just make sense”.
In her video, Shashenok showed parts of their life in the bunker, such as the office space her father had created, the workout machine that doubles as a “personal gym”, and not one but two toilets.
@valerissshTypical situation in Ukraine♬ Che La Luna – Louis Prima
A video showing a “typical day”, which has been viewed over 24 million times, featured various scenes from the bunker: Shashenok using a heat gun as a hair dryer, her confused pet dog, and her mom cooking.
@valerisssh Living my best life 🥰🥰🥰 Thanks Russia! #ukraine #stopwar #russiastop ♬ Che La Luna – Louis Prima
In another video, Shashenok listed out some of the things that she has in her bomb shelter: a “jacuzzi for hot girls” (a bath tub), a place for reading books (a toilet), a personal Michelin star restaurant (her mother’s cooking), a punching bag, and a jar of tomatoes.
“Welcome to my 5 stars hotel,” she wrote.
And in yet another TikTok video, Shashenok showed herself running along the streets and harmonising with the air raid sirens blaring in the background.
@valerisssh Run away from Putin! Simple day, simple life😁 Nothing special! #ukraine #stopwar ♬ original sound – Valerisssh
Shows the destruction
Shashenok is from Chernihiv, a city in northern Ukraine that has been heavily bombed in the past few days. A video on Mar. 3 showed graphic footage of the aftermath of a Russian strike that hit an apartment building. At least 33 people were killed and 18 wounded, according to CNN.
Shashenok has posted footage showing the destruction of buildings in Chernihiv due to shelling, including a historic cinema that was bombed.
She also shared clips of the nearly-empty shelves at the supermarket.
Videos harkening back to a time before the invasion
While Shashenok has shared many light-hearted videos of the current scary experience she is living through, she has also posted a number of serious, bittersweet videos as well, which harken back to her life before the invasion.
@valerissshShit happens♬ Bound 2 Slowed n Reverb by Kanye – Jxy.Creations
Shashenok has garnered more than 13.2 million likes on TikTok and nearly 400,000 followers. She has also been interviewed by CNN and the BBC about her experience.
Follow and listen to our podcast here
Top photos via TikTok/@valerisssh.