In pictures, a look at how a Ukrainian town has already been rebuilt: NPR

Destruction of Vokzalna Street in Posha in early April, after the departure of Russian troops. The photo below shows the street that was cleaned up on Monday.

Dmytro Larin / Ukrainska Pravda


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Destruction of Vokzalna Street in Posha in early April, after the departure of Russian troops. The photo below shows the street that was cleaned up on Monday.

Dmytro Larin / Ukrainska Pravda

This is the same view of Vokzal’na Street on Monday. You can see the red and blue sign of the ATB market in both pictures at the top right. The Ukrainians in Bucha removed all destroyed vehicles and debris from the streets, which were open to normal traffic.

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This is the same view of Vokzal’na Street on Monday. You can see the red and blue sign of the ATB market in both pictures at the top right. The Ukrainians in Bucha removed all destroyed vehicles and debris from the streets, which were open to normal traffic.

Greg Mayer / NPR

Bucha, Ukraine – First there was the Battle of Bucha. Now there is a battle to rebuild Boca.

The photo at the top of this page shows the massive devastation on one of the main roads, Vokzalna Street, in early April, just days after Russian troops pulled out of their bloody incursion into the suburb of Bucha on the northwest tip of Kyiv. .

Now look at the image directly below it. It’s the same road, Vokzalna Street, from the same place, on Monday. You see the same red and blue sign in the upper right side of both photos, an advertisement for the ATB Market, which is 550 meters ahead.

And not only Vokzal’na Street was repaired. The NPR team visited twice in recent days, spending several hours driving around town, not seeing a single damaged or destroyed vehicle on the roads.

All the rubble on the streets was also cleared, and whatever damage was done to the Russian asphalt tanks in Bucha, it was no longer visible.

Here is a satellite view of the same stretch of Vokzalna Street on March 31.

All those military and civilian vehicles have been pulled to open the fields on the edge of the city that have been turned into scrap yards, as you can see in the photos below.

The Ukrainians towed all destroyed Russian military vehicles to open the lot on the edge of Bucha.

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The Ukrainians towed all destroyed Russian military vehicles to open the lot on the edge of Bucha.

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Civilian vehicles were also moved to the lottery.

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Civilian vehicles were also moved to the lottery.

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Of course, cleaning up the streets is just a small step in the massive rebuilding effort that will take years. Many huge houses and apartments were burnt down or completely collapsed.

On a rainy day, we met 71-year-old Valentin Lipatiev, who returned to his destroyed house on Vokzalna Street. He hoped to park his car in a garage behind his collapsed house, to run again.

Lipatiev said his family members fled as the Russians stormed the town — including a large presence on the narrow street directly in front of his house.

“I saw Russian tanks rolling and I saw them fall on this street,” he said.

“I watched this war unfold outside my living room window before my eyes,” he added. “When I realized I would be dead very soon, I ran into my basement. And when I realized I might not be safe there, I ran across the street.”

He stayed in that building, which was bigger than his house, for 10 days, and the Russians were going up and down the street. Finally managed to get out and ride out of town. recently returned.

Valentin Lipatiev, 71, visits his destroyed house on Vokzalna Street. “I saw Russian tanks rolling, and I saw them fall down this street,” he said. “I saw this war unfold outside my living room window before my eyes,” he added. When I realized that I would soon be a dead man, I ran into the vault. When I realized I might not be safe out there, I ran across the street.

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Valentin Lipatiev, 71, visits his destroyed house on Vokzalna Street. “I saw Russian tanks rolling, and I saw them fall down this street,” he said. “I saw this war unfold outside my living room window before my eyes,” he added. When I realized that I would soon be a dead man, I ran into the vault. When I realized I might not be safe out there, I ran across the street.

Greg Mayer / NPR

While Lipatiev was sorting through the wreckage of his house on this rainy day, several of his fellow residents were in Bucha Town Hall, which was crowded, in a well-organized manner. Notices on the front door provide residents with numbers to call if they are seeking advice. There is also a phone list of local morgues for people still trying to locate missing family and friends.

Vadym Yevdokymenko helps with this horrific task.

“Most of the stories are very sad,” he said. “But at least, we find bodies of individuals so that family members don’t have to wonder what happened to them. They are able to bury them with dignity and they can say goodbye.”

Many residents coming to City Hall are looking for permanent accommodation and financial assistance for rebuilding.

Every day Bucha City Council is busy with residents looking for housing, help in rebuilding damaged homes and businesses, and other services.

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Every day Bucha City Council is busy with residents looking for housing, help in rebuilding damaged homes and businesses, and other services.

Greg Mayer / NPR

Zana Rohovets, 55, said her family’s apartment was damaged, but it can be fixed.

“The city says that sooner or later everyone will either have a place to live or some compensation for their home. But with the war as it is, they are currently unable to do so. And that promise will only come after the war is over,” she said.

She is currently staying at the home of her relatives who have traveled abroad, and considers herself lucky.

“I think no matter what the situation is, I won’t end up on the street, even if it means we’ll live in cramped, uncomfortable places,” she said. “At least, we have a family we can count on, and there are definitely people here in town who are in a worse situation.”

This prefab dwelling, to the right of the photo, was placed in the yard of a school. The school was damaged and closed by the Russians, but the children are in the surrounding playgrounds all day.

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This prefab dwelling, to the right of the photo, was placed in the yard of a school. The school was damaged and closed by the Russians, but the children are in the surrounding playgrounds all day.

Greg Mayer / NPR

A worker repairs the prefab dorms that will soon open for Bucha residents whose homes have been destroyed. Poland donated housing that can be built in a few days.

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A worker repairs the prefab dorms that will soon open for Bucha residents whose homes have been destroyed. Poland donated housing that can be built in a few days.

Greg Mayer / NPR

In the near term, prefabricated dormitories are provided in Bucha which were donated by Poland. Many of them have already been grouped together in schoolyards and parking lots.

Each unit, which includes shared bathrooms and kitchens, can accommodate up to 90 people. Electricity and plumbing are being connected and families are expected to start moving within days.

Walking around Boca is a study on contrasts. Look in one direction and you will find a ruined apartment building that will have to be demolished and rebuilt. Look the other way, teens play soccer and basketball in the park, young parents push their kids in strollers, and cafes and markets have a steady stream of customers.

While many parts of the city will take years to rebuild, children are playing outside, families are in the park, and cafes and stores have a regular flow of customers.

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While many parts of the city will take years to rebuild, children are playing outside, families are in the park, and cafes and stores have a regular flow of customers.

Greg Mayer / NPR

And while rebuilding, Bucha has a distinct soundtrack – sledgehammers, the screeching of a sizzling saw and the grinding of electric drills.

Greg Meyer is NPR’s national security reporter. follow him @gregmyre1.

Julian Haida is a Producer at NPR.

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