The idea of a comedy night in a country twisted out of shape by war, jars somewhat against the backdrop of blitz-like living conditions and mounting casualties in eastern Ukraine.
But in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, where blackouts and power rationing have become a feature of winter life, the need for humour as a means of escape remains, according to Sky News Ukraine War Diarist, Oksana Koshel.
In the latest episode of the podcast, she attends a comedy night, albeit reluctantly, with her husband and fellow diarist Seva. It’s an experience that brings both reflection and perspective as well as some profound realisations about the war.
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“I would have never thought that it’s going to be easier to live through many terrors when you can laugh about them and when you can laugh about yourself, when you can mock your enemy.”
Oksana has been recording audio diaries of life in a war zone for Sky News since shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February last year.
In that time, Oksana’s home has been invaded by Russian soldiers. She’s waved goodbye to friends, now taking refuge in Europe, and listened to a terrible steam of stories from her military volunteer husband, Seva, detailing lost comrades and atrocities.
“The situation is really tough in the fronts and we’re constantly watching the news and updates about the fighting in the east and the south of Ukraine and praying for our guys to come home to their families,” she continues.
“War is still going on [but] life goes on as well, of course.”
From the creators of Sky News’ award-winning StoryCast, Ukraine War Diaries is a weekly podcast following those living on Europe’s new frontline, and those who have escaped it.
Producer: Robert Mulhern
Digital promotion and additional writing: David Chipakupaku