Journalist Yulia Ignatiyeva, returning by car from Belarus, describes her impressions of what she saw on the M1 motorway:
“So what, but I know M1 well. Winter and summer, day and night. Caravans of trucks - there are no countries. France, Turkey, the Netherlands, Poland and everything, everything, everything... They bring cars, food, household appliances, some kind of carousels for amusement parks.
The political geography of Europe on a four-lane road. There is a many-kilometer queue on the border of the Republic of Belarus and the Russian Federation. Passenger cars slowly, sympathetically crawl along the line of trucks.
This was until February 24th.
Now the road is empty. It's amazing. There are two trucks on the border of the Russian Federation. Two! Incredible.
We drive along the empty M1. Immediately after the border, dozens of gas stations, heap. Because in the Russian Federation gasoline and gas are cheaper. But the gas stations are empty. Many, although they write about 24 hours, are closed at night. It's shocking, really, when compared to 2020, the last time I drove here.
Shell, like round-the-clock, shines, but is closed. We need to wake up the employee. At the entrance is his wheelbarrow. With the letter Z on the rear window.
Cafe "Smolensk" - tasty, smart. It seems to be closed forever".