AP PHOTOS: Hope amid a few surviving flowers in Ukraine city

May 6, 2022 GMT

Anna Shevchenko waters the few surviving flowers outside her destroyed home in the Ukrainian town of Irpin on the outskirts of Kyiv. The house, built by the 35-year-old woman’s grandparents, was leveled during Russian bombing in late March.

But in her beloved flowerbed this week, some roses, lilies, peonies and daffodils survived, giving her hope. “It is new life. So I tried to save my flowers,” she said.

The house was left a pile of splintered wood, a closet filled with the family’s dust- and debris-covered clothing visible amid the destruction. In one day, the family lost their house and Shevchenko’s father lost his leg to an explosion as he tried to flee Irpin.

Shevchenko’s flowers were among signs of Ukrainian resilience and resistance during a week of devastating death and loss in the war. In Irpin alone, block upon block of homes were destroyed.

In Zaporizhzhia, Vera Velakanova and Lyudmila Vondarenko were among the many residents who gathered in cemeteries on Sunday, the day Ukrainians mark the day of the dead. The women ate lunch at a table amid the tombstones in the Kapustyanyy cemetery.

Sunday was also the day that some 100 women, children and the elderly were the first to be evacuated from a steel plant in the strategic port of Mariupol where they had been under Russian bombardment for weeks along with about 2,000 Ukrainian soldiers in the tunnels beneath the Azovstal steelworks. They arrived in Zaporizhzhia a day later.

The week was also marked by horrific images that offered a rare glimpse of the death and atrocities of the war. In Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, which has been under sustained Russian attack since the beginning of the war in late February, bodies were everywhere.

Among them was the charred corpse of a man, unidentifiable, propped on an anti-tank barrier made of crossed I-beams outside the town, which has been under the control of both sides in recent days.

Elsewhere, the body of another man lay face down in an apartment as Russian bombardments continued in a village recently retaken by Ukrainian forces near Kharkiv.


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