Apocalyptic price of Ukraine’s victory in Irpin


The last survivors in the ruins of Irpin have just one word to describe the Russians who have retreated after one of the pivotal battles of the war in Ukraine.

“Fascists!” rages Bogdan, 58, as he and his friends walk a dog through a deserted town centre that is free of shelling for the first time in a month.

His friends nod in agreement.

“Every 20 to 30 seconds we heard mortar shots. And so all day long. Just destruction,” the tent construction worker told AFP journalists who reached Irpin on Friday.

It used to be a smart commuter town in the pine forests on Kyiv’s northwestern edge.

But Irpin held off the full force of Russia’s invasion, becoming the closest Moscow’s forces got to the centre of the capital some 20 kilometres (12 miles) away.

The town whose once leafy parks were left strewn with bodies is now back under Ukrainian control, as Russian troops hastily pull back from outside Kyiv. 

Victory came at a terrible price that has left it looking more like Aleppo or Grozny than an affluent satellite town in Ukraine. 

Barely a building has escaped the fighting unscathed. Shelling has blasted huge chunks out of modern, pastel-coloured apartment blocks.

The foggy streets are eerily empty, littered with cars with bullet-scarred windscreens, and echoing with the sound of stray dogs.


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