After a restful night’s sleep, we had a leisurely breakfast at the hotel before boarding the Metro (subway) to travel to downtown Kyiv. We spent our time at Freedom Square, where Mary filled us in with the history of Russia’s oppression of Ukraine, starting with the Soviet Union, then in 2014 with the annexing of Crimea, followed by the atrocities of this past year. It was a sobering reality of what these people have faced for the past decade(s).
We ate a delicious and filling meal at a local restaurant, featuring many of your Ukrainian favourites: pierogis, meats, crepes, and so much more.
We then spent the afternoon visiting some of the hardest hit areas in the beginning of the war: Irpin and Bucha. Russian troops advanced through these area en route to try to reach Kyiv, obliterating buildings, nature and civilians in their way. We heard terrible stories and saw the devastation first hand. Walking through these sites and into the buildings was a reminder of how so many people like you and me have been affected. Lives lost, homes destroyed, families devastated. Yet, through it all, there is a hope. Many buildings have been repaired or are in the process of being rebuilt, and Mary and Chad were amazed at how much progress has been made in the last few months.
Yesterday and today have been reminders of God’s faithfulness through terrible times.
There is so much in this that is senseless, heartbreaking and infuriating. But the Ukrainian people have an incredible strength and resolve, and have risen to unprecedented levels to defend their country and rebuild what continues to be broken.
(Check the next post soon for more photos!)