Ukraine: Bucha and Irpin Rebuilding After Russian Military Occupation

United Nations

According to Mykhaylina Skoryk-Shkarivska, founder of the Institute for Sustainable Development of Communities in Bucha and deputy of the Irpin City Council, Russian troops first arrived in Bucha by helicopter from the cargo airport in Hostomel, then marched with tanks through the city towards Kyiv. Skoryk-Shkarivska recalls the first days of the full-scale Russian invasion, which lasted almost a month and resulted in numerous crimes and destructions.

During a visit to Bucha in December 2022, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk expressed his shock at the atrocities committed by the Russian military. The UN Monitoring Mission in Ukraine has documented killings of local residents, with the Russian military often carrying out summary executions at checkpoints based on minor details like a text message on a phone or a piece of military uniform.

In September 2022, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Karim Khan, spoke to the UN Security Council about the devastating consequences of the occupation. He described seeing bodies hidden behind a church in Bucha and witnessing the destruction of schools and houses in Borodyanka. It is estimated that thousands of buildings were damaged and over a hundred were completely destroyed in Bucha.

However, two years after the occupation, there are signs of revival in the city. The UN has worked closely with local authorities, the government, and international partners to facilitate the city’s recovery. According to Skoryk-Shkarivska, the Nova Bucha quarter, which was completely destroyed during the occupation, has now been almost completely rebuilt.

The rehabilitation of damaged buildings and infrastructure is being supported and financed by international partners, including UN agencies. UNICEF has also restored a school in Irpin, which was heavily damaged during the fighting in 2022, and is now one of the most modern educational institutions in the city. UNICEF Representative in Ukraine Munir Mammadzadeh explains that over 5,000 children in Bucha and Irpin are now studying in rebuilt schools, including the Irpin school which was funded by the EU and now provides education to 1,700 students, including children of internally displaced people.

Mammadzadeh emphasizes the importance of minimizing educational losses for children affected by the war, and notes that UNICEF is providing training to kindergarten teachers to support children’s mental health during this difficult period.

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