KYIV, Ukraine – As Russia steps up its offensive in the east, Ukraine’s government is moving forward with plans to rebuild battle-damaged areas it still holds.
“All of them suffered large-scale destructions and this also means the need for colossal funds for the restoration of infrastructure, for the return of medicine and social services, and for the restoration of normal economic life,” said Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
From hospitals to schools to apartment buildings to churches to shopping malls, the government in Kyiv estimates it will need at least $750 billion to rebuild what the Russians have destroyed.
“We understand that it’s a huge, huge money,” Denys Shmyhal, Ukraine’s prime minister, said earlier this week. “But we understand that some of them will be compensated from confiscated Russian assets.”
Several cities on the outskirts of Kyiv, once under Russian occupation, are today slowly coming back to life.
Take for example the city of Borodyanka, 20 minutes north of Bucha.
Oleg Kropyvnytskyi, a resident of the city, is using a John Deere excavator to move debris from a bombed-out apartment complex.
“People have to start rebuilding at some point,” Kropyvnytskyi told CBN News recently. “They need to live somewhere. They are left without homes, without apartments, so people are working, people are trying to live.”
In nearby Irpin, Liudmyla Voronina is overcome with grief as she surveys damage to her home, caused by Russian artillery fire.
“This house is already 70 years old,” said Voronina, a resident of Irpin. “We can’t leave it without repairing.”
About 3 hours north, volunteers from across Ukraine have come to Yahidne to help the village get back on its feet.
Most of the 400 residents here spent a month in the school’s basement during the initial Russian attack.
Now, volunteers like Kyiv resident Denys Ovcharenko, are helping villagers rebuild as quickly as possible.
“People have grief, and while our soldiers in the east are protecting us, we work here,” said Ovcharenko
As the war enters its fifth month, residents from Yahidne to Irpin to Bucha are not sitting around waiting for fighting to stop.
Ukraine’s president says the monumental effort to rebuild his nation is underway, but will take time and a huge commitment from the international community.
“It is not only about what we should do after our victory or in the following years, but also what we need to do right now,” Zelenskyy said.
And even though fighting still rages in the east, the sounds of construction elsewhere serve as a sign of defiance and hope.