KYIV, Ukraine — As the Ukrainian authorities stepped up security measures this week and President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that Russia was plotting a “revenge” attack on Friday timed to the anniversary of its invasion, Maksym Bilinskiy was not terribly concerned.
“I’ve already gone through a rocket damaging my mother’s car near our house in Kyiv and a missile destroying a part of our summer house in Chernihiv,” said Mr. Bilinskiy, 19, a postal worker who was standing with friends at a coffee kiosk in Kyiv’s artsy Podil neighborhood on Wednesday.
One year after Russia’s full-scale invasion, virtually no one in Ukraine is untouched by the violence, destruction and bloodshed. But many said that they had found strength in the country’s shared sacrifice and the collective struggle for survival.
The foreboding that gripped Ukraine amid Western warnings of war in the days before Russian tanks rolled across the border long ago faded. So did the acute chaos and confusion that soon followed. Now, the ways in which people process a war that has killed tens of thousands, made millions homeless and turned entire cities into ruins are as varied as Ukraine is vast.
Liudmyla Danilenko, 79, who was bundled up against the cold as she waited for a street trolley to take her to work, said the war was one ceaseless horror. “I am anxious every day,” she said.
Still, she was conscious that her parents — who lived through the traumas of a famine orchestrated by Stalin that killed millions of Ukrainians and then the devastation of World War II — had endured worse hardships. At any rate, she said, trying times are part of life. For her own well-being, she has been practicing yoga and meditation for decades — skills that she now turns to for relief.
“Hope is the last thing to die,” she said.
An hour after that initial exchange, she was still waiting for the arrival of her street trolley, which had suspended service because of an air-raid alarm.
“Don’t worry,” she said. “I can enjoy the sun and fresh air.”
Onboard one of the trolleys, Khrystyna Mironova, 30, was listening to music as she traveled to visit a friend. She said that alarms and warnings of looming threats from Russia had become a part of everyday life, “like brushing my teeth.”
When an alarm sounds, she checks the news to get a sense of what is going on. If she sees that an air alarm was triggered by a Russian fighter jet taking off in Belarus to Ukraine’s north, she goes about her business, since those alarms are usually short and have been rarely followed by a wave of missiles. If she hears explosions and is at home, she will go to a corridor and huddle with her parents.
There are moments when fear still grips her. On New Year’s Eve, a missile exploded a few hundred yards from her home. “To make a long story short,” she said, “it was not cool at all.”
Yet she said that even that panic was fleeting. On this occasion, she was more eager to talk about the return of the street trolleys.
The service was stopped two months ago, when Russia’s bombardment of Ukrainian infrastructure plunged much of the country into darkness, since the public trams rely on electricity to run. This week, when Ukraine was again was able to produce enough energy to meet most of its needs, the trolleys started running again. Ms. Mironova was thrilled.
“It’s my habit, my ritual,” she said. “The trams are back, we will win, and everything will be OK.”
She speculated that it could take two or three years to drive the Russian forces out and more than a decade to recover. But she noted President Biden’s visit to the city this week, and the sacrifice of Ukraine’s soldiers, and expressed confidence in her country’s prospects for victory.
One of those soldiers, Gourmand, 46, was participating in training exercises on Thursday on the outskirts of Kyiv. He asked to be identified only by his call sign for security reasons.
“It’s a mess,” he said of the fighting at the front. “It just goes on and on.”
This time a year ago, he was working at a factory salting fish. When Russia invaded Ukraine, his life was upended, and he soon saw two of his fellow soldiers die when their car hit a mine.
Asked when he thought the war might end, he laughed at the thought that he could know such a thing. When that day comes, he said, “invite me to the U.S.A.”
“I will prepare fish for you.”
Daria Mitiuk contributed reporting.