Maria Avdeeva has won herself a large following on Twitter with this reporting project, providing facts and commentary in a city where half-a-million or more people have fled.
Is there another way to fight the Russian army, if you don’t dress in military fatigues or own a weapon?
The research director of a think tank called UA Experts thinks she has found a way, armed with a smartphone, a social media account and years of legal training.
Her name is Maria Avdeeva, and we began to listen to her reports in Kharkiv, the embattled Ukrainian city just 20 miles from the Russian border.
Kharkiv residents cover the monument to Shevchenko with sandbags to protect from Russian air strikes. I saw volunteers coming, offering to help protect the symbol of the Ukrainian nation, while Russian troops shelled the city. The historical moment of this war. pic.twitter.com/gQ9MlpAPVr
— Maria Avdeeva (@maria_avdv) March 26, 2022
She posts daily updates from bombed-out buildings in and around the city centre, often as incoming shells and rockets echo around her.
“Hello, Maria Avdeeva from Kharkiv, Ukraine, 18th of March,” says one.
“I went out today to get some food and then the shelling started again, it started this morning and (it) went on and on, and I hid in this building which actually has been a business centre.”
In the video, Maria walks up the stairs in a 19th century building before revealing a devastated office with desks, chairs, and computers covered in dust and glass.
“I am just (struck) by what I see,” she says. “People were running out of here, leaving everything (behind). They didn’t anything with them, they left everything here.”
Her voice trails off with an anguished tone.