The pine forests near Irpin are Oleh Bondarenko’s happy spot, and he found them as a child.
“It’s a place full of memories. Vorzel, Irpin, Bucha, the forests, the fresh air. For me, this is a place of respite,” the 64-year-old environmental scientist notified CNN during a new trip to Irpin.
The hour-long trip from Kyiv is a trip he has made several times over the decades, filled with sorrow for Bondarenko, who feared what he would discover in Irpin. “This is the first time I am coming back since our brothers ‘visited’ Irpin,” he announced, relating to Russian troops.
The devastation that the Russian forces inflicted on the landscape here is vicious and omnipresent. The Scorched earth, forest floors devastated by missiles, trees broken down and uprooted, while deserted military appliance litters the ground. Several of the town’s elegant houses lie in wastes like the woodland, and green spaces near them are off thresholds.
Anzhelika Kolomiec, Bondarenko’s friend who resides in Irpin, told CNN that the authorities had prohibited people from getting on into the woods. “We have a beautiful forest here, but this year there won’t be any walks, there won’t be any mushroom picking, there won’t be berries. We are not allowed to go in because of mines and unexploded missiles,” she explained.
Extensively people may not recognize nature as a priority, at least not right now, when Ukraine’s destiny is at risk, and people perish every day between the dispute.
“When you see the crimes against humanity, the unbelievable atrocities, people being killed, tortured, raped, hundreds of them … it is natural not to think about environmental impacts,” let out Natalia Kozak. She is the executive director of the Center for Environmental Initiatives in Kyiv.