Here’s how weeks of heavy Russian shelling has changed Yasnohorodka, once a cozy village north of Kyiv

1 April, 08:08 PM
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A man observes the results of Russian shelling in Yasnohorodka (Photo:Oleksandr Medvedev)

A man observes the results of Russian shelling in Yasnohorodka (Photo:Oleksandr Medvedev)

NV photographers Natalya Kravchuk and Oleksandr Medvedev visited Yasnohorodka, a village known for its family eco-park, which came under intense enemy shelling.

Yevhenia Rozhkova, a pensioner and resident of Yasnohorodka, met NV at the entrance to her house. The woman recalled that the enemy began to shell the village, located about 60 km north of Kyiv, immediately as the war began. The assault reached its peak on March 6. On that day, Rozhkova recalls, with tears in her eyes, a shell hit her yard, damaging her greenhouse, and the ventilation pipes in the cellar in which she was hiding.

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Oleksandr Medvedev
Фото: Oleksandr Medvedev

The woman is now taking care of six dogs, four cats and nine chickens, which her neighbors left her with after the evacuation. She is forced to live without power and running water.

“Here is the pool I am now taking water from, boiling it, and using it to prepare food for myself and the dogs,” Rozhkova says, pointing it out to NV.

The village was occupied by invading Russian forces, and it took three weeks to liberate it, a serviceman from the Krym battalion told NV. It was only a mere week ago that the Ukrainian military was able to take back this territory. According to him, civilians and territorial defense fighters are known to have died in the village.

Maria shows what's left of her house in Yasnohorodka (Фото: Oleksandr Medvedev)
Maria shows what's left of her house in Yasnohorodka / Фото: Oleksandr Medvedev

The house of Maria, a 62-year-old resident of Yasnohorodka, was completely destroyed by enemy shells. She says that the first time the house came under fire was on March 5. Then, her husband's close relative. By March 7, enemy shelling had completely destroyed her house.

Maria miraculously managed to escape.

“When my grandmother was killed [March 5], we went to the store for bread,” the woman says.

“And on March 7, we spent the night with my brother.”

Her husband, 58-year-old Serhiy, admits that today he has only one ray of light in his life — the sounds of explosions have ceased now that the Ukrainian defenders have driven the invaders away from the village.

"We will win. Ukraine will never be under the rule of katsaps,” he insists, using a popular Ukrainian derogatory term for Russians.

Only a few ostriches have survived Russian shelling (Фото: Oleksandr Medvedev)
Only a few ostriches have survived Russian shelling / Фото: Oleksandr Medvedev

One of the most affected places in the village is the Yasnohorodka family ecopark, which once housed about 200 animals: ostriches, pelicans, llamas, alpacas and other ungulates.

Oleksandr Mashchenko, deputy director of the ostrich farm at the park, said that about a third of the animals died. The evacuation of the rest began  on March 30.

Oleksandr Mashchenko, Deputy Director of the ostrich farm (Фото: Oleksandr Medvedev)
Oleksandr Mashchenko, Deputy Director of the ostrich farm / Фото: Oleksandr Medvedev

According to Mashchenko, park staff didn't abandon their animals - but the intense shelling stopped them from being able to feed them.

Evacuation of a donkey (Фото: Oleksandr Medvedev)
Evacuation of a donkey / Фото: Oleksandr Medvedev

“We were bombed on February 28, then on March 1, and heavily shelled from a Grad (multiple rocket launch system) a week ago,” says a park employee.

“But we suffer from shelling regularly, even yesterday [March 29].”

Oleksandr Medvedev
Фото: Oleksandr Medvedev
Ecofarm workers evacuate a very stubborn pony (Фото: Oleksandr Medvedev)
Ecofarm workers evacuate a very stubborn pony / Фото: Oleksandr Medvedev

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