At last, the corcuses are emerging in Kyiv. After a 35-hour lockdown by the mayor of the city, residents are also free to return home. This is despite the fact that the Mayor has declared it a ‘dangerous moment’ in the war-torn metropolis.

As we drive to Obolon, the north outskirts of the city, it is both bright and cold. Although the roads are relatively quiet, it is a slow and tedious journey. Kyiv has become a place of checkpoints and fighting positions, as well as tank obstacles.

We have to navigate through the chicane, which is composed of road-construction vehicles, street-cleaning wagons, and half a dozen buses, on the Dnieper River highway. They all have had their tyres flatten: this is to prevent a Russian armored column.

Minska Metro Station is near the people. There are families walking along with their kids, as well as queues outside of pharmacies. Fresh bread is being given away by a Georgian bakery It’s normal.

You will then notice the anti-tank mines that run along the gutter and are ready to be placed on the highway. They are both green and brown.

Anatolii Kostiuchenko has invited us to Obolon. Each of them are former engineers. They have not spent much time apart over their 53-year marriage.

The Kostiuchenkos are a heart-rending example of how older people here are standing their ground, despite the threat of cataclysm, while millions from the younger generations have become refugees. Pictured: Anatolii and Nadia Kostiuchenko

They are an example of older citizens in this country who are fighting back against the threats of catastrophe, even though millions of younger people have fled. Pictured: Anatolii and Nadia Kostiuchenko

It is heartbreaking to see how the Kostiuchenkos show that older generations in Ukraine are standing firm despite threats of catastrophe, while many younger people have fled. Their tiny apartment is on the tenth level of an old Soviet-era building.

This is where they brought up their two sons – Yevhen and Oleksandr. Yevhen immigrated to America and died while serving as a deputy sheriff for California. Oleksandr now serves as the Mail’s interpreter.

It is full of the accumulation of clutter from a lifetime, including pictures of their children, religious icons and landscape paintings, as well as countless radios and cassette players. These are the treasures of former broadcasting engineer Anatolii – now a ham whose hobby is collecting and restoring Soviet-era radio sets.

You can also find many different representations for cats.

They have four – Martha, Zaia, Shere Khan and Enei – and they are one of the reasons they will not leave. They were also the reason for the Kostiuchenkos’ first separation in marital life.

We are welcomed into their tiny flat on the tenth floor of a crumbling Soviet-era block (pictured)

The tiny apartment on the tenth level of an old Soviet-era building is our welcome.

Oleksandr is located on the eighth level of a different block 100 metres away. He is currently helping us with his wife and their two children, who are in Ukraine. His mother Nadia, who is a flat-sitter, looks after his three cats, and Alina’s kitten Bantik (the hamster that bit her last week).

“I was raised in an area where rodents were common, and he may have sensed that,” she grumbles. Anatolii, Anatolii’s wife said: “We see each others every other day. She sometimes comes to me, and I sometimes go to her. It’s strange to live this way. Two reasons make it difficult for them not to see one another. They are afraid to leave the house. For the duration of war, both the elevators and the blocks in which they are located have been removed.

Residents will not be trapped in the stairs if their block gets damaged or the electricity goes out. The pensioners who have both health problems must use the stairs. Anatolii (72) says that it is very hard for her to use the stairs at her age.

“I must stop every 2 floors to rest, and the bomb shelter can be found in the basement. This is why it’s only been used once.

“Now, when sirens go off (which they do up to seven times per day), I sit in my bathroom or toilet, because concrete walls have no windows and they have no windows. However, what happens if a missile strikes his block at the tenth level and traps him by a fire?

A person mourns next to a wrapped body near a residential building which was hit by the debris from a downed rocket in Kyiv today

An individual mourns near the body of a victim who was killed by a missile in Kyiv.

“Nadia thought of this!” The beaming man raises his eyebrows as he pulls a length of rope out from the balcony. He gestures to a radiator, and then says “I’ll tie it to that,” He said, “And get down.”

Oleksandr gets visibly upset as his father speaks. He demands they leave. However, his parents are busy with other plans to fend off an attack.

The pictures, as well as all of the crockery, have been removed from many walls and moved to storage. Anatolii took down an interior doors and fixed them to the windows in the second room.

And on the balcony that faces west towards the frontline, he has hung two rugs over a washing line – what he calls ‘double protection’ against blasts.

The block has seen 40 families ‘run away from war’, with only five remaining. Why did he choose to remain with his wife?

Anatolii states that if Anatolii and I leave the apartment, then it will be destroyed or looted by the Russians in one month. “And if we don’t arrive and the building is struck by a missile,” Anatolii says. The search and rescue service will most likely open all of the flats and make them accessible so that things could be taken again.

“When we first moved into this house in 1978, we only had a bench and a bed, along with two chairs. You can see what has been achieved over the past 45 years, including our television, fridge, and other luxury items. You could loose everything.

He is aware of the dangers. You can clearly see how our lives have changed. It would be completely destroyed if it was hit by a rocket.

Refusing to leave: Damage to a neighbouring apartment block to the Kostiuchenkos , in the Obolonskyi District of Kyiv, where they vow they will stay until the end of the war

They refuse to leave: The Kostiuchenkos caused damage to an apartment block next to them in Obolonskyi District, Kyiv. There they have promised to stay till the end of war.

Nadia, 69, has made us deruny – traditional potato pancakes – which she serves with pickled cucumber, roast chicken slices, sour cream and a hot sauce called adjika. “It is potatoes, carrots tomato, sugar, salt, pepper and it was cooked on the oven for three hours,” she explains. It is also delicious – Ukrainian soul food.

Later on, when we have left the area and returned to our streets, we encounter an elderly woman.

“Hey, what’s the matter with you?” she demands. “Who are you?” I don’t know what you are doing. “I’m calling police!” She is holding her phone and shedding tears. As many Kyivans are, she’s afraid of unknown people due to the threat of Russian undercover infiltrators.

According to my sources, they were recruited in Russia by Russian nationalists living in the occupied Donbas area because they can speak Ukrainian.

Before she will be able to accept our passports and ID cards, we have to present them. We then drive into Obolon.

Bohatyrska-20 is half a mile distant from Kostiuchenko. An advertising poster is located at the front door of the apartment block. This poster features a picture of a yellow and white budgerigar, along with the phone number and message: “We have Your Bird.”

Kyiv has emerged from its latest curfew. But the nightmare for this city is far from ending. Pictured: Ukrainian firefighters extinguish a blaze at a warehouse after a bombing on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine today

Kyiv is free from the latest curfew. The nightmare this city faces is not over. Pictured: Ukrainian firefighters extinguish a blaze at a warehouse after a bombing on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine today

You might see such a notice anywhere in the world. Next, you can look up at what remains of Bohatyrska20: Nine storeys worth of smoke-drenched apartments along with two massive holes from Russian missiles that struck while the residents were asleep.

One of the three survivors was killed and one more was injured. One of the survivors was the budgie.

Halfway across the pitch is debris. From the top branches of silver birch, hangs a window frame. The background sounds like artillery or air defense fire.

We dial the number shown on the poster. The woman returns our call. She says that she also discovered a turtle, and a hamster inside a cage. “They were all thrown onto the streets and miraculously survived.”

She adds that no one claimed the bird yet.

Two miles of stationary traffic are visible on the return trip to the center. This vehicle is waiting for its turn at a checkpoint on one of the Dnieper bridges.

One street florist sold individual tulips by the missile-struck Artem military hardware plant. Unfamiliarly, behind her is a worker fixing plywood sheets onto the broken windows of Kvadrat’s shopping centre.

He may be looking downright depressed as the owner of Wear me, a budget boutique for ladies. The glass used to make his premises was almost all made of glass. It looks like a giant has entered the kiosk, and then sneezed.

Kyiv is free from the latest curfew. However, this nightmare is not over.