Posad-Pokrovske’s villagers fled the Russian invasion in the middle last year. They joined their compatriots in a massive westward exodus of the southern Ukrainian province Kherson.
The soldiers returned slowly to their homes after the retaking of the provincial capital and surrounding territory by the Ukrainian army. The soldiers are now in a landscape of shattered trees, downed telephone poles and spent munitions.
“Some people go to their home and fix it up, and then they move on.” Liudmyla, a 31 year-old returnee, stated that those who have something to save will save their house.
Russian forces seized Kherson city and the surrounding areas in late February and early March. Posad-Pokrovske was a city with a population of more than 3,000 people before the war. It ended up being on the front lines.
Hupalo estimates that 170 to 180 people have already returned.
She stated that those who don’t have anything to save or a place to stay won’t return.
“My parents’ house was completely destroyed. It is quite frightening that there is still a roof visible above my home.
Vasyk Oliinyk a local farmer fired up one the wood stoves that were brought in to aid the villager with bitter cold.
Later, he recalled standing beside the charred remains of his tractor that had been blown up during occupation.
“They (the Russians) shot it with cluster munitions… I don’t know where or what to do. As you can see, everything is gone. It is difficult to imagine how you could manage land without equipment.
Oksana’s stove represents some progress for him, but a return back to normality remains a distant possibility.
It could be used for porridge or other foods. It can be used to heat water, but there isn’t any water.
Oleksandr, Liudmyla’s father, inspects the uninhabitable ruin on his property.
“The girls used to put make-up here. He claimed that his wife liked to be in her bedroom. We used to have a small house. It was a good house.
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