“It united our spirit” – Ukrainians in shelters sing the national anthem

A woman suspected of being an opera singer led a group of Ukrainians from missile shelter into a Kyiv metro station in a rendition of the national anthem, at a time which, according to a witness, ” united our minds” during the Russian bombings.

Oleh Maksymiak, 21, was forced into hiding at Kyiv train station on Monday after an air raid siren went off.

A barrage of missiles and drones hit Kyiv and other major cities in what is believed to be retaliation by Russian President Vladimir Putin after the huge bridge linking Russia with its annexed territory of Crimea, a of key supply for Russia, was bombed on Saturday.

Mr Maksymiak, assistant to Ukrainian MP Inna Sovsun, described the moment a woman started singing the national anthem and a crowd of at least 40 people joined her.

He was traveling to Kyiv from his hometown of Lviv around 11:30 a.m. when he heard the overhead siren alerting people to danger.

Crowds gathered around a woman as she sang the Ukrainian national anthem (Oleh Maksymiak/PA)

He told the PA news agency: “We were standing on the tube, there was nowhere to sit because it was so crowded.

“The network was bad, I could not call my relatives, like many people present.

“We sometimes (when the Internet appeared) read the news about what was happening outside, mostly constant news about new explosions, and that’s why everyone was sad, some people even cried.

“And then I heard that someone had started singing the national anthem of Ukraine.”

Mr Maksymiak recalled hearing a woman’s “opera” voice, and said he walked over to her and started filming.

The video, which has been posted online, shows crowds of people gathered around the woman, holding their hands to their chests and chanting.

He added: “An opera singer was singing and everyone on the subway started singing along with her.

“It was an amazing vibe, I think she wanted to lift everyone’s spirits.

“After that, everyone clapped and shouted ‘glory to Ukraine – glory to the heroes’.

“I would even say that it united our spirit.”