WHEN Adam Carrington lived in kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, he often enjoyed playing chess with his friends.
Little did they know that the online version of the board game would soon serve as a much-needed distraction to the sound of bombs dropping on their town.
And although Adam managed to escape Ukraine at this point, he feared for his friends who were now trapped in a much bigger game of strategy with far more deadly consequences.
Until mid-February, Johnstone’s writer had been living in the country for about two years before Russia began gathering troops near the Ukrainian border.
A few weeks before the invasion, Adam decided to film a documentary to show what was happening on the ground.
He told The Gazette: “Around Christmas, it seemed obvious that something very serious was going to happen, but we weren’t sure what form it was going to take.
“There was a journalist looking for a Scottish person living in Kyiv to talk to and most of the interview was spent trying to explain to him what was going on in Ukraine.
“After this experience, I thought it would be good to put together a resource that I could put on the internet and share with Western journalists, so that they are properly informed before writing their stories about the country.”
Adam embarked on filming his first documentary in three days, between February 2 and February 12, while working full-time as an English teacher in Kyiv.
The 32-year-old said: “I interviewed people I knew personally who had interesting things to say and who were voices I didn’t hear in Western media.
“For example, I spoke with a woman who had a background in Crimea and another friend of mine from Donetsk, who had changed his mind about the separatist situation in the east.
“I thought if I could get those voices heard, it would help to try to humanize the situation a bit.”
Towards the end of filming, it became clear to Adam that Russia intended to carry out an attack on Ukraine and that it was time to leave the country.
The Gryffe High alumnus said: “My intuition told me something bad was about to happen. I suspected this might be an invasion that would be bloody and difficult, and I would only get in the way.
“I decided to quit my job, take a long vacation and wait for things to calm down.”
On February 13, Adam took a bus to the country’s border with Poland and was staying with his father on the Caribbean island of Tobago when Russia invaded Ukraine 11 days later.
Adam said: “When the war broke out and there were pictures of grandmothers coming out of drones and throwing jars of cucumbers at them, it didn’t surprise me.
“It was a beautiful moment of pride to see that the Ukrainians had not changed, because they are a very strong people.
“However, it seemed certain that Russia was going to wipe Ukraine off the map for the first few weeks of the invasion, because it was nothing but carnage. I was very afraid of what was going to happen to my friends .
“A good friend of mine, Yulia Zaparia, who is in the documentary, was in an air-raid shelter in Kyiv when things got really bad. When she came out the next day and saw the destroyed buildings in her neighborhood, she didn’t couldn’t believe it was real.
“Everyone I have met in the past two years has become a refugee, has been drafted into the armed forces or has joined humanitarian efforts. No one I know has a normal life anymore.
However, Adam’s spirits would be lifted when he returned to his hometown in March and saw firsthand the solidarity shown towards Ukraine.
He said: “It was pretty amazing to see the Ukrainian flag flying when I got off the train at Johnstone.
“It really touched me to see people here taking the situation to heart and being able to share this with my friends in Ukraine, because it showed that the world has not forgotten them.”
Adam believes his documentary captured a unique moment in history that shows the prelude to war in Ukraine from the perspective of its citizens.
He said: “It was done before the start of the invasion of Ukraine, with the idea of providing information that was not riddled with propaganda and getting the truth out.
“My initial target audience was journalists, but towards the end of the documentary it gets a bit more personal, as I realized I couldn’t separate myself from what was going on in this situation.
“Now the documentary is more for posterity and to show a moment in time.”
Adam is now determined to return to the country he fell in love with many years ago, once it is safe to do so.
He said: “I fully intend to return to Ukraine after the war is over because I despair of seeing the friends I have there who were unable to leave.
“Some live in very dangerous places and I really hope to see them again, and the cities that I love.
“I really want to walk these streets and know that the people there are safe and the war is over.”
Adam’s documentary ‘All Of This Is Precious’ and his other projects can be found at www.instagram.com/admcarrington.