March 26 16:00
Photo: 1 + 1
Solomiya Vitvitskaya and her colleagues are holding the United News information front from Channel 1 + 1. On the first day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the TV presenter decided that she would stay in Kyiv to do her job and volunteer.
We talked to Solomiya about TV broadcasts during the war, the work of journalists, her mood and, of course, victory. But first they asked about a new member of the plus team – York Dimon, who was saved in Stoyanka by TSN correspondent Alexander Zagorodny. Dimon, by the way, even has a journalistic badge.
I always have two dresses with me, a cosmetic bag and pajamas
– Solomiya, the first thing I want to ask is how your new colleague – dog Dimon is doing?
– Dimon has already taken root with us, he feels at home. He is cared for by everyone, he is our best anti-stress. Of course, he chose Sasha Zagorodny as his master, he does not step away from him. So when Sasha needs to go to filming, everyone has to distract Dimon. And so in general he is comfortable with us, he runs around the floors, in short – at home (at the time of publication, we received the news – the owner came to Dimon to pick him up. – Author).
– How has your perception of the world changed from February 24 to today? At first, many had shock, panic, helplessness, misunderstanding that the war had actually come.
“I wasn’t shocked.” There was a strange feeling that this was not happening to us. I just got to work. Of course, all people are different and psychologically react differently to war. So I understand very well: when someone had a stupor, they had to leave, exhale and then get down to business. And I am by no means critical of those people who have decided to leave for a safer place or leave Ukraine.
I did not have to work hard on myself psychologically, so I decided for myself that I will stay in Kiev, I will work, I have a lot of work, both editorial and volunteer, respectively, here I can be more useful.
I watch with delight as society unites, although quarrels sometimes occur, Ukrainians have such a tendency. Even under the post, where I urged to leave the controversy for a while after the victory, there were some people who decided to insert their five cents. But unity prevails considerably, I admire the patriotic mood, the way the whole country got involved. Now almost everyone has a clear understanding of the enemy, that we are simply being destroyed and who is behind it. Even those stars who sometimes went on tour to Russia.
“Did you collect the alarm bag?”
– Honestly, I did not collect. I thought – to collect or not, but at some point I realized: if I collect, I will need it, and if I do not have it, then I will not need it (smiles).
I have a bag with two dresses, I just have other clothes besides dresses, no, a cosmetic bag and pajamas, which I always take with me because I don’t know where the curfew will be. I often spend the night at work or stop somewhere on the road, respectively, in the car there is always a sleeping bag and a mat. So I have a hiking bag and no alarm bag.
With York Dimon in the 1 + 1 office. Photo: 1 + 1
Just sitting and crying is not very constructive
– Working live during the war is a difficult test. How to hold yourself in your hands, to keep your mind clear? And still try to calm us down, who is on the other side of the screen?
– When you are busy with some things, you do not have time to focus on your own experiences, anxiety and so on. We are all working now to win – who can. And just sitting and crying is not very constructive. If I’m not on the air, then I volunteer – either virtually, or distribute the necessary things to the military or people who need it.
Now we are holding a charity auction with Paralympian Sergei Emelyanov on my official Facebook page – we are selling his gold medal from the Tokyo Games to help the Armed Forces of Ukraine. I ask everyone to join and make contributions. Sergei himself turned to me, he is in close contact with the military, constantly goes to the front, so he decided to sell his gold medal to raise money for the 25th and 30th mechanized brigades for the ammunition they need. But it’s not easy: create a post – and everything will happen by itself. It is necessary to write a lot, ask for support, post, share – this is a huge piece of work. So when you’re busy, you don’t have time to be distracted by any fears. By the way, psychologists also advise to direct your energy to any specific tasks, then it will be easier to experience these moments, which we all experience.
The struggle on the information front is also very important now. We helped make the Russian-language channel Freedom for those in Europe and the world who do not understand and do not know the Ukrainian language, who have not yet decided what is happening, so that Europeans have access to Russian-language content. The channel is already running and is being broadcast in 60 countries around the world. Our TV presenters Egor Gordeev and Vova Rabchun are also in the frame. But, again, this is also already controversial, they say, why in Russian. We are such a nation that you can do when everyone considers themselves both a military expert and a media expert… On the other hand, it means that people are also busy with something and thus distracted from the war (smiles).
– Do all studios broadcast from Kiev? Or is it in other cities?
– There are studios where TV presenters tell the news in different cities, including Kiev.
– How is live broadcasting different than usual during the war? Of course, except for the need to go down to the bomb shelter during the alarm.
– We have round-the-clock marathons – 24 hours a day. All channels are not competitors now, but work together as one. We divided the time for everyone and, accordingly, we change each other every 5 hours.
Now we all have to fight against fakes, leaks of information that break through the curb, because saboteurs work on all fronts, including information, so we check the information very carefully.
If the curfew coincides with our broadcast, of course, everyone spends the night on the channel. We have people who practically live in the office – either it is inconvenient to get there now, for example, from the left bank, or there is no bomb shelter at home. But thanks to this we are even more united, we support each other.
Our correspondents Alexander Zagorodny, Alexander Motorny, Andrei Tsaplienko have to work under fire right on the front line, literally looking the enemy in the face. These are people who from the first days of the war in 2014 to this day continue their work. Our girls-correspondents – Yulia Kirienko, Eva Nikolashvili, Natalia Nagornaya, Nelya Kovalskaya – also go to the front line to film, risking their lives every day. After all, now it is really important to see live reports, not retellings.
With the Paralympic champion of Ukraine Sergey Emelyanov. Photo: Instagram.com/solomiyavitvitska/
Trying to take care of ourselves is also our weapon
– How do you save your former life, what are you looking for joy in? For example, I saw your story – the same cup of coffee on the hem.
– Indeed, I want to remind myself that peaceful life will return. But, by the way, one girl reacted negatively to this story from the cafe, saying that they are sitting under fire in Bucha, and we in Kiev have the opportunity to drink coffee.
Although we support Bucha, Kharkiv and Mariupol – really for each of our cities! And our correspondents go there, and we try to get people out of there, we do everything possible, we inform about the green corridors. My friend was also in Bucha, we were terribly worried, there was no connection, we tried to do everything possible to get people out. I understand that everyone’s nerves and reactions are different, in particular, negative to such seemingly joyful moments, although very short.
I will say more – some do not like my smile on Instagram. But my smile is my personal weapon. So I show that we are all fighting, everyone is positive and victory will surely be ours. If you constantly just cry or be depressed, broken, it will only depress everyone around. It is still unknown how long we will have to fight, so we need to gain patience, strength and move forward.
Sometimes they write, it was so funny that I look too beautiful on the air and that the news should be hosted without any make-up.
– And – right in your pajamas after sleep!
– Yes (smiles). And imagine – a person turns on the TV and sees some sleepless, uncombed, leading in pajamas. On the contrary, trying to look good, take care of yourself – this is also our weapon. It encourages, gives confidence and strength to move towards victory. But, again, I understand that everyone is nervous, so everyone has their own physiological and psychological reactions to what is happening around.
– Yes, unfortunately, not everyone understands that we must hold on, not get discouraged, to pull out, support and then help those who are worse today than us.
– Yes. So I chose the positive. Maybe someone thinks it’s silly that I’m smiling, trying to be as positive as possible, because you can’t be discouraged. At the same time, I understand and realize that every minute in our country someone dies. But if we cry all the time, the enemy is more likely to break us psychologically.
Solomiya immediately decided that she would stay in Kyiv to broadcast. Photo: 1 + 1
Life will need to be celebrated
– Your dad lives in Zhytomyr. How does he feel? Remains there?
– Yes, he stays in Zhytomyr. He taped the windows and said they survived, even when a rocket hit his yard in the first days of the invasion. Yesterday I wrote that I was going to work to guard something.
– What will you do first, when we win?
– I want to hug everyone. Just go and hug everyone.
I would like to have a big party where we will all meet and just be able to be together, celebrate life. In my opinion, life consists of such moments.
Once upon a time, she gathered all her acquaintances and friends for her birthday every year and arranged literally a Ukrainian wedding for 100 or even 200 people. But with the start of the war in 2014, I stopped doing it, it was somehow inappropriate. I think this tradition should be revived after the war.
Of course, it will be painful to remember those who are not with us – and military, and civilians, and children – these are terrible numbers that we voice every day on the air. But life will need to be celebrated.
The TV presenter says that when there is work, there is no time to get depressed. Outside the studio, Solomiya is volunteering. Photo: Instagram.com/solomiyavitvitska/