The Ukrainian town of Zavorychi was angered by the destruction of the legendary St. George’s church after the Russian shelling

BROVARY, Ukraine — A local legend has it that in 1941, a Nazi soldier tried to burn down St. George’s Church in Zavorychi, a small suburban town. Kyiv, but was stopped by an act of God. Just this week, Vladimir Putin’The tank got the job done for him. When they shelled the town indiscriminately on their way to the capital, the church caught fire and burned down.

“Part of me is dead,” said Julia Tymoshenko, a 22-year-old from the town who provided The Daily Beast with a video depicting the wreckage. “I’ve always loved Easter…waking up at 3am to bless the food. Our villagers often bring baskets full of goods and arrange them in a circle around the church.”

Now, Julia’s anguish had turned into rage.

“Those bloodthirsty bastards opened fire from their rusty tanks straight at my crib, my hometown… This church was a symbol of that community and my childhood at grandma. I can only imagine how sad my grandmother felt as she watched from the church window that had turned to ashes,” she said. “All that’s alive in me is now on fire.”

As Russian troops leave the destruction after they advance towards Kyiv, the city’s frontline defenders are holding the line. Chestnut cell phone video sent to The Daily Beast on Thursday from a Ukrainian fighter jet shows four charred corpses lying on a bridge in the town of Irpin, with the wreckage of an aircraft carrier wrapped Russian steel is next door.

“What else is there to fear?”

Fierce fighting has decimated the outskirts of the capital over the past two weeks, as Russian troops attempt to encircle the city and begin an aggressive siege. Towns like Brovary, Irpin, and nearby Bucha were strategically important locations — ideal for the Russians to place artillery if they were to rain down on Kyiv.

Olena Marchenko, a 47-year-old territorial defense volunteer, said as she cooked a dinner of casseroles, eggs and vegetables for soldiers stationed at her outpost. She was posted at the intersection just outside Brovary, about 20 kilometers from the Russian military positions. However, frequent machine gunfire suggests the fighting took place only a few hundred meters away.

On Wednesday, a Russian missile launch hit that checkpoint, killing one serviceman and injuring eight others. But Marchenko laughed when I asked her if she was afraid. “What’s there to fear?” she said.

A 40-year-old Ukrainian commander codenamed “Angel” showed us around the rubble from Wednesday’s attack. The roof of a building that was once used as a makeshift command center has now become a wreckage, with the remains of several civilian cars strewn across the street. The area is being bombarded almost daily.

Spray-painted graffiti on a stone barricade next to a few smashed tank traps reads “Welcome to Hell”—but none of the dozens of soldiers standing outside seem special. fear. Sergey, a 52-year-old veteran who has been called up for military service, points to his son, who is guarding a checkpoint just 20 meters from his home. He was comforted by the fact that if the Russians came through here, they would fight, and possibly die side by side.

Residents evacuate the city of Irpin, north of Kyiv, on March 10, 2022. The northwestern suburbs of Kyiv such as Irpin and Bucha have endured shelling and shelling for more than a week, prompting mass evacuation efforts.

Aris Messinis / AFP via Getty Images

Meanwhile, central Kyiv looks a lot like the setting of a post-apocalyptic movie. The streets and squares outside many of the capital’s most recognizable landmarks, such as the Olympiska Stadium, Pechersk Lavra Cathedral and the historic Kyiv Opera House, are completely deserted. Others, like the famous Maidan Square, are rife with barricades, sandbags, and tank traps. We suspect that the snipers trained their guns from multiple rooftops. Soldiers patrolled the area, regularly checking passports, documents and cameras to make sure no one had captured any sensitive military locations. The city has been transformed into a great fortress, which has so far proven impenetrable to invading Russian forces.

At first it appeared that the Kremlin had bought into its own propaganda about its soldiers being greeted as liberators from Ukraine’s “Fascist” government, but fierce Ukrainian resistance quickly dispel those illusions. The goal of quickly decapitating the Russian government with aggressive paratroopers and special forces was quickly repulsed. Instead, the Ukrainians are making them pay dearly in blood and treasure for every square inch of land they conquer.

However, the Ukrainian government reports that Russian forces have killed more than 2,000 civilians across the country since the fighting began two weeks ago. They also destroyed countless buildings, including apartment complexes, airports, churches and schools. The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has said he will visit Ukraine to investigate potential war crimes committed by the invading forces.

With the bulk of the Ukrainian military committed to keeping lines of communication open against the Russians and their separatist allies in the eastern Donbas region, the capital is guarded by a strange, but strangely effective, barricade by the Armed Forces. Special Operations forces and volunteer militias are equipped with everything from low-tech Soviet-era Ak-47s to the latest flashy American-supplied technology, including Stingers and MANPADS.


Soldiers arrive to fortify one of the last checkpoints on the front lines where Ukrainian forces are battling Russian invaders near Brovary, Ukraine on March 8, 2022.

Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A 40-mile Russian convoy once considered the architect of Kyiv’s destruction has become an international laughing stock, stuck in the mud. Other violations have also stalled. The Russians and their separatist allies were deadlocked on the Eastern Donbas front and in the Northeast, failing to capture the city of Kharkiv. Only to the south, where Russian forces stationed in Crimea had captured the port city of Kherson and besieged Mariupol, did they advance anywhere near scheduled.

“I may never see him again, but at least he’ll grow up to be proud of me.”

But the Russians may be closer than we think. The day after I visited Brovary, four of my colleagues were trying to find an alternative route into the town of Irpin to evacuate civilians as they ran smack-bang into a checkpoint manned by Russian soldiers. The Russians are said to have pointed guns at them, but their driver that day managed to convince them to let them go. Oz Katerji, an Anglo-Lebanon war journalist who was in the car, told The Daily Beast that “they were as surprised to see us as we were to see them! We were lucky to escape death with our lives. We have seen firsthand how close the Russians are to Kyiv and the devastation they are causing. [refugees] run away from Irpin. ”

Despite the huge disparity, hundreds of Ukrainian male and female volunteers fight on the front lines every day. Many left their families at the borders of neighboring European countries and then returned to fight. The others are Ukrainians who are living abroad and have returned home to defend their country.

On the train from Lviv to Kyiv this week, I met Slava, a 33-year-old Ukrainian who had left his family, including his young son, in Slovakia before returning to fight in Kyiv. With his cropped hair and full arm tattoos, he looks like a stout giant, but has a calm voice and humble demeanor. He gave me the name of his YouTube channel.

He was trying to tell me he might never see his son again, but trying to get the words out. Eventually, he switched to using Google Translate on his phone and showed me a message that said, “I may never see him again, but at least he’ll grow up to be on his own. proud of me”. The Ukrainian town of Zavorychi was angered by the destruction of the legendary St. George’s church after the Russian shelling

Russell Falcon

Russell Falcon is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Russell Falcon joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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