In Focus

20 miles from the Russian border, one town struggles to move on from bloody occupation by Putin’s forces

The residents of Trostyanets in Ukraine’s eastern Sumy region saw their homes and businesses destroyed in the early months of Moscow’s invasion. Askold Krushelnycky visits and sees a ray of hope for recovery thanks to their hard work and international help

Sunday 09 July 2023 10:51 BST
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<p>The town of Trostyanets was ravaged by Russian forces before being recaptured. Getting back on its feet has been difficult</p>

The town of Trostyanets was ravaged by Russian forces before being recaptured. Getting back on its feet has been difficult

Nobody believed the Russians would really invade, says Yuriy Bova, mayor of the small Ukrainian town of Trostyanets, just 20 miles from the Russian border – but 24 February 2022 will forever be etched in his mind.

As Russian tanks trundled across the border in the early hours of the morning, there were no Ukrainian troops in Trostyanets – in Ukraine’s eastern Sumy region – and the residents of the town knew the enemy would arrive within hours.

Bova says they tried as best they could to slow down the Russian advance. Felling trees onto the roads through the rolling hills and forests surrounding Trostyanets, brought one column of invading vehicles to a halt for two days.

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