Ukrainian residents face quiet trauma after Russian bombs

Ukrainian residents face quiet trauma after Russian bombs

Thousands of displaced Ukrainians are forced to flee their homes because of the Russian attack on this country, but residents here face the quiet trauma after a disaster. As they work to pick up pieces in Irpin, they hope that the Kremlin's ambitions don't call for further military attacks.

Residents are pushing for stores to reopen and utilities to get back online. They are even having to fix holes that Russians have cut into fences and garages to create shooting positions. And all this is taking place amid craters left by Russian bombs, apartment buildings that are nothing more than burnt shells, and houses that are crumbling bits of cinderblock and brick.

Sezhiy Klymach, 73, fled the city two weeks after the Russians came. He had hidden himself in a basement with his neighbors. The retired municipal worker said he had followed news coverage about Irpin closely but it was still shocking to see the city he had helped keep running was turned into rubble.

Most of his neighbors could be seen dumping trash, twisted metal, shattered glass, broken tree limbs, bullet casings and spent explosive shells into piles for garbage pickup. On one street, neighbors slashed trash into a Russian armored personnel carrier that had been hollowed out in an explosion.

It is hard to see the destruction of the city, Klymach said, wiping a tear from his eye. I hope more people will come back to rebuild. Many returned home to find the Russians had torn out drawers, tossed clothes, shattered pictures and strewn everything they could find across the floor of their residences, even in the best of circumstances. Many of them had lost valuables.

In Rhyzenko's house the mattress was upended and jewelry, thousands of dollars in cash, all their American brand shoes and numerous bottles of wine were gone. Russian troops had painted a Z on a Columbia-brand hiking boot.

A career s worth of military pins and collectors coins that Rhyzenko had kept from his time at NATO had disappeared along with the binoculars his father had given him from his time in the Soviet Navy. The ransackers sank the Russian ship Moskva after being hit by at least one Ukrainian missile, but Rhyzenko sank it with a replica model of the Russian ship, according to the ransackers.

He quipped that they missed something important here. This is a piece of history since it is underwater. The Moskva sinking is a symbol of Ukrainian victory, the main route to safety in and out of Irpin has become a symbol of Ukrainian resilience. During bombings, many hid under the main bridge connecting Irpin to Kyiv. After it was destroyed, hundreds if not thousands of Ukrainians, including elderly and disabled people helped by volunteers, scrambled across rubble and planks of wood to evacuate to the safety of Kyiv.

A temporary road has been built alongside the destroyed bridge, connecting Irpin with the Ukrainian capital. Municipal employees had cleared the area of the destroyed vehicles, moving their frames to a nearby parking lot where owners could identify them.

Windshields and car doors were riddled with rounds of bullets, the roofs of many were crushed and windows of some had turned to melted glass, likely from the heat of explosions. A coffee mug still sat in the cupholder of a black sedan that appeared to have an exploded engine. A pair of pink children's sunglasses could be seen in the open glovebox of a silver car with bullet holes in the windshield.