The Ukrainian army stationed wreckage of Russian tanks, trucks, cannons and rockets there, all of which were destroyed by the country’s artillery.
Perched in front of the baroque bell tower not far from Saint Sophia Cathedral, these remains of the Russian military are charred, rusted and in poor condition. However, every day hundreds of Ukrainians, young and old, come to watch them.
Many are the ones who wield the guns and even enjoy climbing the tank turrets to have their picture taken as the liberators of Ukraine.
Alexander, who now lives in Kyiv but is originally from Donetsk in the Donbass, says the wrecks bring back bad memories:
It’s a bit scary because for me it’s the second time the Russians wreak havoc in my area. Already under increasing partial Russian control since the annexation of Crimea in 2014, Donbass in eastern Ukraine has been under Moscow’s invasion for several months.
Some charred tanks and trucks also smell of potentially toxic chemicals, as those vehicles that sit enthroned in this peaceful plaza are unlikely to be decontaminated.
This does not prevent children from playing with cannons, opening truck doors or even climbing on wreckage.
Alexander thinks that this is not the place for children and that they should rather go to the parks to have fun. In addition, he believes
it instills in them the idea of permanent war early on.
However, Alexandra, his wife, thinks it is important for the youngest to know her story.
You must learn the truth about this barbaric warShe says.
This rather singular attraction also gives some citizens the impression of Ukrainian triumphalism.
It looks like trophies. I am ambivalent about this way of showing us the effects of the war on the Russiansadmits Sergei, a 30-year-old resident of Kyiv.
A mixed feeling, on the one hand, because other people died in these tanks and in these trucks; especially because the war is not over yet.
Ukraine could claim victory a little too soonhe thinks.
It doesn’t matter: the days go by and look the same, and the crowd is there.