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These photos show how daily life continues as Kyiv enters its 2nd winter of war

People ice skate at a Christmas market at VDNG, the Expocenter of Ukraine, in Kyiv on Dec. 3.
Pete Kiehart for NPR
People ice skate at a Christmas market at VDNG, the Expocenter of Ukraine, in Kyiv on Dec. 3.

Since Russia began its full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, the country has been in a state of flux. Ukrainians have had to recalibrate their idea of what normal is monthly, weekly, daily — or even hourly.

In the winter days immediately following the invasion, with a Russian column of armor and soldiers stalled less than 20 miles from the center of the capital Kyiv, "normal" meant a ghost town. Finding an open business, particularly one that wasn't a grocery store or pharmacy, was rare. One of the only places filled with activity was Kyiv-Pasazhyrskyi, the central train station, as people fled westward.

During the summer months, at first glance, outward signs of the war were less apparent. "Normal" then meant bustling restaurants and bars — at least until curfew — and the mood throughout the city was jovial, as people celebrated Russian withdrawals and Ukrainian victories.

The summer's chorus of birds and street musicians gave way in the fall to more ominous sounds, like the steady purr of generators. Nowadays, Kyiv's winter "normal" consists of electricity, water and connectivity outages — both scheduled and spontaneous — loosely correlated with Russia's near-weekly drone and missile assaults on the city.

As Ukraine nears the one-year anniversary of the invasion, Kyiv's newest normal may be darker and colder, but life goes on: Volunteers sew camouflage netting and build power banks, soldiers go to church, and people visit Christmas markets, wearing headlamps to navigate darkened streets.

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Volunteers in a school gymnasium in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha weave camouflage netting for use by the military, on Dec. 2. The group said they have created over 4,000 square yards of netting since starting their project after the liberation of Bucha. They have also created 8 sniper suits, known as "ghillie suits" — camouflaged outfits that help snipers blend into their surroundings.
/ Pete Kiehart for NPR
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Pete Kiehart for NPR
Volunteers in a school gymnasium in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha weave camouflage netting for use by the military, on Dec. 2. The group said they have created over 4,000 square yards of netting since starting their project after the liberation of Bucha. They have also created 8 sniper suits, known as "ghillie suits" — camouflaged outfits that help snipers blend into their surroundings.
Svitlana Machenko (center, on ladder), a music teacher, works with students to create a Christmas display at a school in Bucha on Dec. 2. While previous years' displays featured a large tree, this year's display was more improvised, Machenko says.
/ Pete Kiehart for NPR
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Pete Kiehart for NPR
Svitlana Machenko (center, on ladder), a music teacher, works with students to create a Christmas display at a school in Bucha on Dec. 2. While previous years' displays featured a large tree, this year's display was more improvised, Machenko says.
People sled on a hill in the Park of Eternal Glory adjacent to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Kyiv on Nov. 30.
/ Pete Kiehart for NPR
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Pete Kiehart for NPR
People sled on a hill in the Park of Eternal Glory adjacent to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Kyiv on Nov. 30.
Prima ballerina Olga Golytsia rehearses on Dec. 4 at the National Opera in Kyiv for a production by the Kyiv National Ballet of <em>The Snow Queen.</em> This year, it is being performed without music by Russian composers Pyotr Tchaikovsky and Sergei Prokofiev.
/ Pete Kiehart for NPR
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Pete Kiehart for NPR
Prima ballerina Olga Golytsia rehearses on Dec. 4 at the National Opera in Kyiv for a production by the Kyiv National Ballet of The Snow Queen. This year, it is being performed without music by Russian composers Pyotr Tchaikovsky and Sergei Prokofiev.
Civilians take shelter in the Akademmistechko Metro station during an air alert in Kyiv, as Russian forces renewed missile attacks across Ukraine on Dec. 5.
/ Pete Kiehart for NPR
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Pete Kiehart for NPR
Civilians take shelter in the Akademmistechko Metro station during an air alert in Kyiv, as Russian forces renewed missile attacks across Ukraine on Dec. 5.
A burnt-out police station in Borodyanka, Kyiv Oblast, Ukraine on Dec. 5. Borodyanka was occupied by Russian forces during their failed attempt to take the capital.
/ Pete Kiehart for NPR
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Pete Kiehart for NPR
A burnt-out police station in Borodyanka, Kyiv Oblast, Ukraine on Dec. 5. Borodyanka was occupied by Russian forces during their failed attempt to take the capital.
Birds fly over St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery in Kyiv on Nov. 30.
/ Pete Kiehart for NPR
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Pete Kiehart for NPR
Birds fly over St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery in Kyiv on Nov. 30.
Soldiers light candles to honor the dead as a woman crosses herself at a Sunday Mass celebrating the Presentation of the Virgin Mary at St. Volodymyr's Cathedral in Kyiv on Dec. 4.
/ Pete Kiehart for NPR
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Pete Kiehart for NPR
Soldiers light candles to honor the dead as a woman crosses herself at a Sunday Mass celebrating the Presentation of the Virgin Mary at St. Volodymyr's Cathedral in Kyiv on Dec. 4.
Worshipers wait to pray at icons during a Sunday Mass celebrating the Presentation of the Virgin Mary at St. Volodymyr's Cathedral in Kyiv on Dec. 4.
/ Pete Kiehart for NPR
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Pete Kiehart for NPR
Worshipers wait to pray at icons during a Sunday Mass celebrating the Presentation of the Virgin Mary at St. Volodymyr's Cathedral in Kyiv on Dec. 4.
Young Ukrainians take part in a snowball fight in the Park of Eternal Glory in Kyiv on Dec. 1.
/ Pete Kiehart for NPR
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Pete Kiehart for NPR
Young Ukrainians take part in a snowball fight in the Park of Eternal Glory in Kyiv on Dec. 1.
Fresh graves are covered by snow in Bucha on Dec. 2. Many feature numbers rather than names because the bodies are unidentified.
/ Pete Kiehart for NPR
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Pete Kiehart for NPR
Fresh graves are covered by snow in Bucha on Dec. 2. Many feature numbers rather than names because the bodies are unidentified.
A tent set up by Ukrainian authorities offers shelter, heat, WiFi and charging stations to the public in Bucha on Dec. 2. Authorities refer to these tents as "points of invincibility" or "unbreakable centers."
/ Pete Kiehart for NPR
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Pete Kiehart for NPR
A tent set up by Ukrainian authorities offers shelter, heat, WiFi and charging stations to the public in Bucha on Dec. 2. Authorities refer to these tents as "points of invincibility" or "unbreakable centers."
A bar in a former squat in Kyiv frequently hosts events to raise money for the military. At one such event on Dec 1, Kateryna Havrylchuk, top, and Ksenia Zhmurko demonstrate shibari, a style of Japanese bondage.
/ Pete Kiehart for NPR
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Pete Kiehart for NPR
A bar in a former squat in Kyiv frequently hosts events to raise money for the military. At one such event on Dec 1, Kateryna Havrylchuk, top, and Ksenia Zhmurko demonstrate shibari, a style of Japanese bondage.
Performers stage a production of <em>La Traviata</em> at the National Opera in Kyiv on Dec. 4.
/ Pete Kiehart for NPR
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Pete Kiehart for NPR
Performers stage a production of La Traviata at the National Opera in Kyiv on Dec. 4.
People use headlamps and flashlights as they pass St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery during a power outage in Kyiv on Dec. 10.
/ Pete Kiehart for NPR
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Pete Kiehart for NPR
People use headlamps and flashlights as they pass St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery during a power outage in Kyiv on Dec. 10.
Students at a school in Bucha use a handheld bell to signal it's time for their next class on Dec. 2. The bells are necessary due to the lack of electricity.
/ Pete Kiehart for NPR
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Pete Kiehart for NPR
Students at a school in Bucha use a handheld bell to signal it's time for their next class on Dec. 2. The bells are necessary due to the lack of electricity.
Technicians from DTEK, Ukraine's largest private energy company, work to replace a cable at a substation in the Teremky neighborhood of Kyiv on Nov. 30. Ukraine's electricians are working around the clock to maintain the country's electrical grid, which is subject to near-weekly attacks from Russian missiles and drones.
/ Pete Kiehart for NPR
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Pete Kiehart for NPR
Technicians from DTEK, Ukraine's largest private energy company, work to replace a cable at a substation in the Teremky neighborhood of Kyiv on Nov. 30. Ukraine's electricians are working around the clock to maintain the country's electrical grid, which is subject to near-weekly attacks from Russian missiles and drones.
Volunteers with an organization called Power Kit assemble power banks from batteries recovered from disposable vape pens in Kyiv on Dec. 3. The group says it has received over 5 tons of donated vape pens, which are free to ship through Ukrainian delivery service Nova Poshta, and have created over 850 power banks, which are provided to the military for free.
/ Pete Kiehart for NPR
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Pete Kiehart for NPR
Volunteers with an organization called Power Kit assemble power banks from batteries recovered from disposable vape pens in Kyiv on Dec. 3. The group says it has received over 5 tons of donated vape pens, which are free to ship through Ukrainian delivery service Nova Poshta, and have created over 850 power banks, which are provided to the military for free.
Raisa Yakymenko, 85, makes coffee in her apartment during a power outage in Bucha on Dec. 2.
/ Pete Kiehart for NPR
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Pete Kiehart for NPR
Raisa Yakymenko, 85, makes coffee in her apartment during a power outage in Bucha on Dec. 2.
Members of Ukraine's Dzhokhar Dudayev Battalion fire a rocket-propelled grenade while training with new recruits outside Kyiv on Dec. 3.
/ Pete Kiehart for NPR
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Pete Kiehart for NPR
Members of Ukraine's Dzhokhar Dudayev Battalion fire a rocket-propelled grenade while training with new recruits outside Kyiv on Dec. 3.
Members of Dzhokhar Dudayev Battalion train with new recruits on a hillside outside Kyiv on Dec. 3.
/ Pete Kiehart for NPR
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Pete Kiehart for NPR
Members of Dzhokhar Dudayev Battalion train with new recruits on a hillside outside Kyiv on Dec. 3.
Members of the Dzhokhar Dudayev Battalion simulate carrying a casualty with new recruits outside Kyiv on Dec. 3.
/ Pete Kiehart for NPR
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Pete Kiehart for NPR
Members of the Dzhokhar Dudayev Battalion simulate carrying a casualty with new recruits outside Kyiv on Dec. 3.
Oksana Laba visits her damaged apartment in Borodyanka, Kyiv Oblast, Ukraine, on Dec. 5. Borodyanka was occupied by Russian forces during their failed attempt to take Kyiv. Laba, who currently lives in a smaller house because she fears large apartment buildings can still be targeted by missile strikes, returned home to pick up an electric pancake- and panini-maker for her children.
/ Pete Kiehart for NPR
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Pete Kiehart for NPR
Oksana Laba visits her damaged apartment in Borodyanka, Kyiv Oblast, Ukraine, on Dec. 5. Borodyanka was occupied by Russian forces during their failed attempt to take Kyiv. Laba, who currently lives in a smaller house because she fears large apartment buildings can still be targeted by missile strikes, returned home to pick up an electric pancake- and panini-maker for her children.
Vendors sell mulled wine at a Christmas market at VDNG, the Expocenter of Ukraine, in Kyiv on Dec. 3.
/ Pete Kiehart for NPR
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Pete Kiehart for NPR
Vendors sell mulled wine at a Christmas market at VDNG, the Expocenter of Ukraine, in Kyiv on Dec. 3.
People socialize at a Christmas market at VDNG, the Expocenter of Ukraine, in Kyiv on Dec. 3.
/ Pete Kiehart for NPR
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Pete Kiehart for NPR
People socialize at a Christmas market at VDNG, the Expocenter of Ukraine, in Kyiv on Dec. 3.

Pete Kiehart