As in many wars, the Russian invasion of Ukraine is constantly changing.
Attack zones and tactics change, battlefields suddenly appear in previously quiet areas, kinetic locations become silent.
All of this means that to account for events, you accept from the outset that your plans change.
We left cautiously for the town of Bucha, where a Russian convoy had been destroyed the day before by the Ukrainian army. Trusted contacts in town told us it was quiet and promised to show us the convoy and tell us what had happened.
War in Ukraine – live updates on the Russian invasion
Even as we left central Kiev through a city being reinforced with additional soldiers, highways and main roads where volunteers were digging trenches and the army was positioning howitzer guns for the defense of the capital, it was clear that our journey was going to be difficult. .
Constant checkpoints must be negotiated carefully. The tension is palpable, the fighters are nervous, and it’s all heightened by the constant distant sounds of machine gun fire and artillery and mortar machine gun fire.
The city is only about thirty kilometers from the center of Kiev, but our trip took us hours. The roads were closed and we were redirected countless times.
On our way, in the distance, we could see Russian helicopter gunships swooping through the air, noses dipping toward the ground as they opened fire.
From a calm place, this whole part of the countryside – including our intended destination – had turned into a battlefield.
Pointing guns at our car, the last Ukrainian checkpoint suggested we go no further. We chose to call it a day and head back to the center of town. We had tried to flag, but it was getting too difficult.
But that’s what happens, that’s how it is.
The roads we had taken were no longer safe. Well, worse than that, really: they were instantly new front lines.
So we decided to cut into the western part of the city and come in a different direction.
We stopped at a checkpoint and spoke to soldiers and police, asking if the road to Kyiv was passable.
A policeman walked over to the car and handed us some ice cream from the window, telling us we could turn left and go down Kiev road – he said it was open.
We left, but it was deadly quiet, and it’s fair to say we were worried. But we were moving slowly towards an intersection. There was rubble on the road, but that’s normal now. There were no soldiers, everything seemed deserted.
And then out of nowhere a small explosion and I saw something hit the car and a tire burst. We drove to a stop.
And then our world changed.
The first hit cracked the windshield. Cameraman Richie Mockler huddled in the front passenger floor. Then we were on the attack.
Bullets cascaded throughout the car, tracers, bullet lightning, windshield, plastic seats, steering wheel and dashboard had disintegrated.
We didn’t know it at the time, but the Ukrainians told us later that we were ambushed by a sabotaging Russian reconnaissance squad. It was professional, the bullets kept crashing into the car – they didn’t miss.
Producer Martin Vowles, who was driving, got out of the car first, quickly followed by Andrii Lytvynenko, our local producer, leaving me, Richie, and my producer Dominique Van Heerden inside, hiding in the feet and on the back seat.
At this point we thought it was a Ukrainian army checkpoint shooting at us and it was a mistake, so we started shouting that we were journalists, but the beatings continued.
We knew we had to get out to survive, but the incoming fire was intense.
Dominique pushed her door a little further and slid to the ground, crawling towards a freeway barrier, then dove down a 40-foot embankment, rolling to the bottom.
Richie was yelling at me, but I don’t really remember much.
I remember wondering if my death was going to be painful.
And then I was hit in the lower back. ” I was touched ! ” I screamed.
But what surprised me was that it didn’t hurt that much. It was more like being punched, really.
It was strange, but I felt very calm. I managed to put on my helmet and was about to try to escape, when I stopped and reached for a shelf in the doorway and retrieved my phones and my press card, incredibly.
Richie says I then got out of the car and stood up, ran to the edge of the embankment, then started running. I lost my balance and fell to the bottom, landing like a sack of potatoes, cutting my face. My armor and helmet almost certainly saved me.
But Richie was still inside the car. The cartridges entered the car every time he moved. He was actually protected by the engine block – he knew that.
He shouted and we shouted to him to come. But then silence. It seemed like an eternity before he emerged over the barrier and leapt towards us, followed by a flurry of gunfire.
Downstairs, we regrouped. All five of us were alive. We couldn’t believe it.
We were in shock, no doubt. But glad to be alive. Martin said to me, it’s a miracle that one of us got out, let alone the five of us.
Still in the line of fire, we backed away from the car, using a concrete wall as cover.
We spotted a factory unit with an open door and sprinted one by one inside, looking for cover. We were convinced that the shooters would come and finish us off.
A door opened and three guards waved us into their workshop.
We ran inside and gathered together, while Martin and Dominique phoned Sky staff members, signaling the start of a frantic effort to try and start arranging a rescue for us.
We knew it would take hours and expected to spend the night in the workshop while the logistics were worked out. Extracting people from distant places in the midst of a war that keeps moving is fiendishly difficult.
Outside, the sounds of battle intensified. We had no idea what was going on, but we were afraid that at any moment the garage doors would explode inwards and armed men would come and kill us.
It’s often like that in tough situations – you survive the first game and get to safety, then it all starts to go downhill again. And you’re tired, really exhausted, and the adrenaline is going down, and you feel depressed and beat up.
Attempts at levity fell on dull ears, finally we gathered in a small office to warm ourselves, in silence, waiting for the word of the rescue.
The phone rang and we were told we had to wait until morning. It was now dark outside.
I started to doze on a sofa, and I vaguely remember seeing a flashing light, then the sound of heavy boots and screams in the stairwell.
Richie said he was convinced that this was the end, before hearing these beautiful words: “Ukrainian police, come quickly! »
We got out and were herded into a police vehicle, the driver fired his engine and we skidded through the doors of the factory unit.
There was a long way to go, but we had been rescued. A day later we returned to the center of Kiev.
The fact is that we were very lucky. But thousands of Ukrainians are dying, and families are being targeted by Russian commandos just like us, driving into a family saloon and attacked.
This war is getting worse day by day.
Read more eyewitness accounts from Stuart Ramsay in Ukraine
• Everyone is a potential Russian agent as Putin’s forces approach Kiev
• A long and terrifying weekend to defend Kyiv
• Meet the 21-year-old guarding a footbridge in Kyiv alone
Stuart and his team are now safely back in the UK.
We would like to give thanks to the author of this write-up for this outstanding web content
Sky News team’s harrowing account of their violent ambush in Ukraine this week | News from around the world – News 24