Russia has been attacking Ukraine for six months now. According to preliminary estimates, more than 350,000 facilities and millions of square meters of residential, educational, medical and sports infrastructure were destroyed, and there was immense damage to roads and railways, airports and ports.
According to information from the Office of the Ukrainian Prosecutor General, more than 1,800 educational institutions have already been destroyed – i.e. kindergartens, schools and universities. And according to estimates by the Analysis Center of the Kyiv School of Economics, the damage to Ukraine’s infrastructure caused by the war so far amounts to 110.4 billion US dollars. And the destruction continues with each passing day.
In the course of the war so far, some places have been hit particularly hard. About 90 percent of the city of Mariupol was destroyed. But elsewhere, too, nothing looks like it did before the war.
In Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city and a major industrial and scientific center, part of the most densely populated area, North Saltovka, was completely destroyed. Houses, churches, shop pavilions, bus stops, sports halls and medical facilities were hit. The city is 40 kilometers from the Russian border. According to official data, more than 4,000 civilian objects of various types of ownership were destroyed or damaged as a result of the shelling and bombing of Kharkiv. “The occupiers only hit civilian infrastructure and try to deprive us of educational institutions, transport and people from their homes,” said the head of Kharkiv city administration Igor Terekhov.
At the beginning of their invasion, the Russians tried to reach Kyiv. Vain. However, they managed to hold a number of satellite cities for two months. On April 2, the Ukrainian military completely liberated the Kyiv region. An apocalyptic, devastating picture emerged.
The towns of Bucha, Irpin, Gostomel, Vorzel and Makarov suffered the most. In Irpin almost all houses bear the marks of heavy fighting. The city became a no man’s land between the river held by the Ukrainian forces and the Bucha occupied by the Russians.
Bucha used to be a quiet suburb surrounded by large forests, not far from the Kiev reservoir. The small town had its own fashionable district with luxury villas, hotels, infrastructure, private houses and many new buildings for young people who lacked fresh air in the capital. But then came the war: the pictures from Bucha showing killed civilians went around the world. Bucha has become a symbol of the cruelty of the Russian war of aggression. Overall, 74 percent of houses built after 2010 in Bucha, Irpin and Gostomel were damaged.
The greatest destruction in the Sumy region took place in February and March. There was no way to save or defend anything – Russian tanks roamed the streets from the very first day of the war. There were 145 settlements in the region that survived the occupation. More than 2000 facilities were destroyed. These included educational institutions, healthcare and businesses.
A difficult situation can be observed in southern Ukraine. The Kherson region is the first Ukrainian region to be almost completely taken since the start of the large-scale invasion. According to estimates by local authorities, 2772 objects were destroyed in the region. The city of Mykolayiv, very close to Kherson, was one of the first cities to be attacked after the invasion began. The Russian troops approached the city limits but were pushed back.
According to the BBC, Mykolayiv is a key strategic city for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s army. Here he would have the opportunity to cut off the southern coast of Ukraine. Taking the city could open the way to Odessa and create a land corridor to Transnistria. The neighboring region of Zaporizhia is particularly at risk because, in addition to the infrastructure and residential buildings, the largest European nuclear power plant, Zaporizhia, is also being shelled.
The battle for the Azov steelworks in Mariupol has become one of the symbols of the Russian war of aggression. For weeks, soldiers and civilians held out under unimaginable conditions in the industrial plant and opposed the attackers. Her photos and videos went around the world. The city is now under Russian control. Many Azov fighters are now threatened with show trials.
Before the war, around 12,000 people worked in the steelworks, and around 400,000 lived in Mariupol itself. Today the city resembles a skeleton. According to the Ukrainian mayor, around 90 percent of the infrastructure was destroyed, including large parts of the historic old town. Thousands of people died in the fighting and bombing. Hardly any other Ukrainian city has been so heavily contested – basically since the beginning of the conflict in eastern Ukraine in 2014. The location on the Black Sea and the proximity to the separatist areas in Donetsk and Luhansk make the city a strategically important target.