Kherson's underground resistance: How ordinary people fought Russia from the shadows

KHERSON, Ukraine — Tetiana Horobstova, a retired physics teacher born in Russia, did not believe Russians would attack this city founded by Catherine the Great.

"Attack a Russian-speaking city, where people had family and friends in Russia?" she recalls, shaking her head. "No way."

On Feb. 24, 2022, despite warnings from the West that Russia was about to invade Ukraine, Horobstova remembers waking to a beautiful morning and watching the sunrise from her balcony. It turned the sky pink and illuminated green fields bursting with the winter harvest.

"And then I heard the explosions. And then I saw the explosions," she says. "One near the airport, then a second. The third at a gas station that seemed to turn everything red."

She began to cry. She called her friends and family to see if they were OK. Some were packing their bags to flee west. But Horobstova, her husband, Volodymyr, and her youngest daughter, Iryna, refused. Even with their Russian roots, their loyalties were clear.

"We had a Ukrainian flag on our TV, and a poster that says 'Putin Get Out!' " she says. "My poster, by the way."