Kyiv’s main square has been largely silent for the past few weeks, broken only by the sound of distant shells and air raid sirens.
But today an orchestra brought it back to life with a performance of Ukraine’s national anthem, commemorating the central role of the location in the country’s history.
The musicians performed to a small crowd on Maidan Square, the stage for key scenes in Ukraine’s history.
Here, pro-Western protesters sparked a revolution that toppled a government with deep ties to the Kremlin and set Ukraine and Russia on the road to war.
The Kyiv-Classic Symphony Orchestra also played an excerpt from Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” on which the anthem of the European Union is based – a nod to the Ukrainian government’s desire to move closer to Europe and away from Russia’s sphere of influence.
Dozens of people gathered in the central Maidan Square, some waving Ukrainian flags.
They applauded as the national anthem ended and a woman shouted “to Ukraine.”
A smaller band of musicians composed of Ukrainian soldiers assembled to play in Odessa, a southern port city that could soon become the scene of a Russian amphibious assault.
Kremlin troops are advancing on the capital, but progress has been much slower than many analysts had predicted.
Ukraine’s defense has been resolute and has shaken expectations, inflicting heavy casualties on Russia’s manpower and equipment while it held key positions.
A long convoy sent to encircle the city is sneaking towards Kyiv but is struggling with logistical problems.
The Ukrainian air force and drones, stuck on narrow roads and running out of fuel, were able to intercept elements.
Thousands of civilians have joined local defense units in support of Ukrainian forces, and civilians in some areas under Russian control have taken to the streets to protest.
MORE: Britain supplies Ukraine with more weapons as soldiers prepare for battle in Kyiv
The capital has largely escaped the heavy shelling that has devastated parts of other urban centers, including Kharkiv, Mariupol and Sumy.
But the Institute for the Study of War expects another attack on Kyiv in the next 24 to 96 hours.
One analysis said: “The reported appearance of forces of Chechen leader Ramazan Kadyrov, the Russian internal security force Rosgvardia and the private military company Liga (formerly Wagner) in the western outskirts of Kyiv may indicate that the Russian military is struggling to position itself sufficient to muster conventional combat power to launch their attack on the capital.
“Russian forces near Kyiv made limited gains and prepared for limited advances to continue their attempted encirclement to the west.”
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/03/09/ukraine-war-orchestra-plays-in-kyiv-square-despite-russian-advance-16248118/ War in Ukraine: Orchestra plays on Kiev Square despite Russian advance