The town of Bucha near Kyiv has become synonymous with Russia's war crimes on Ukrainian territory: scores of its residents have been executed, raped or tortured by the Russian army.
At the same time, Bucha is also etched in memory because of the photographs of Russian armored vehicles piled up on its main street – the remains of a huge armored column on its way to Kyiv that was ambushed.
The remains of armored vehicles in Bucha, photo: AP
This happened on February 27 and the entire column was destroyed with intensive use of Turkish Bayraktar drones.
A Ukrainian fighter among the rubble in Bucha, Photo: AP
A year later, Bocce changed completely. Vokzalnaya Street, whose photographs have become famous all over the world, seems to be flourishing again – and perhaps even more so than ever.
This is what the street looks like this week, photo: Ruslana Kravchenko, Romanska Radio
The rehabilitation project under the name "Hope for Bucha" was only launched in October, after the Ukrainian security forces removed all the mines left by the Russians, and after the removal of large-scale scrap.
Some of the houses that have been restored, photo: Ruslana Kravchenko, Romanska Radio
The American organization Global Empowerment Mission (GEM) entered the picture, and its partners and the city council rehabilitated 110 buildings – 12 of which were completely destroyed, 20 required significant construction, and all 110 required restoration of roofs and windows.
Moreover, as a result of the war, vital urban infrastructure was destroyed: sidewalks, the electricity system, etc. The work was supposed to be completed within six months, but was completed within five.
"The work was hampered by the fact that the street is relatively narrow, and for such a pace of construction it is a serious obstacle," Andriy Nagrich, CEO of GEM in Ukraine, told Ukrainian radio. "So they had to close the street, dismantle the destroyed houses and then rebuild them. This street is one of the first in the city and today it looks better than before. I believe that all of Ukraine will flourish after the war." Funding for the project was provided by the Howard Buffett Foundation.
This still sounds like a distant dream for many, many communities in Ukraine, especially those on the front lines. This week, photos were published of Bakhmut, a city that the Russians still insist on occupying and destroying building after building. This is what Bakhmut looked like in May 2022 in a satellite image taken by Maxar:
Bakhmut, May 8, 2022, photo: AP
Here's how the same place looks in May of this year:
Same place in Bakhmut, May 15, 2023, Photo: AP
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