Pictures of destruction: Ukraine before the war and today

The Russian government has been at war with Ukraine for over a month. The Russian leadership claims it is a “targeted military operation” against “fascists”. The images that have surfaced in Ukraine for weeks, in turn, show the reality.

The Russian military is destroying schools, residential buildings and health facilities, killing civilians. We often only get the pictures of destruction. #Faktenfuchs, the verification unit for the Bayerischer Rundfunk, went in search of images showing these places before they were destroyed.

Kharkiv: Numerous victims in attacks on civilian facilities

One city that has so far been particularly hard hit by rocket attacks is Kharkiv in northeastern Ukraine, the country’s second largest city after Kiev. For example, School No. 134 in Kharkiv was completely destroyed.

Some pictures also show corpses lying on the school grounds. The exact number of victims is not known. According to media reports based on information from the Ukrainian government, the attacks on residential areas in Kharkiv at the time resulted in several casualties.

This picture of Kharkiv School No. 134 is from June 2015

Image Rights: Source: Google / Screenshot: BR

This picture of Kharkiv School No. 134 is from March 2022

Image copyright: Sergey Bobok / AFP

Also in the center of Kharkiv, houses were destroyed in bombings and street fights, as here near Constitution Square. The photo showing the building after the attack was taken on March 2, 2022.

A building not far from Kharkiv Maidan. The recording is from 2011.

Image Rights: Source: Google / Screenshot: BR

The inner courtyard of the same building, taken on March 2, 2022

Image copyright: Sergey Bobok / AFP

Russian bombs also destroyed several university buildings in Kharkiv, including the Faculty of Economics at Karazin Kharkiv National University.

In June 2015, the Faculty of Economics at Kharkiv National University looked like this.

Image Rights: Source: Google / Screenshot: BR

The university building immediately after the Russian military attacks in March 2022.

Image copyright: Sergey Bobok / AFP

A building of the National Academy of Public Administration in Kharkiv was also destroyed by Russian airstrikes on March 18, 2022.

A photo taken in June 2015 shows a building of the National Academy of Public Administration

Image Rights: Source: Google / Screenshot: BR

The same university building in March 2022, after an air strike.

Image copyright: Sergey Bobok / AFP

The academy building from a different angle.

Image Rights: Source: Google / Screenshot: BR

From this angle it can be seen that the building was parted by the rocket attack.

Image copyright: Sergey Bobok / AFP

Mariupol: Pictures show ruined theater and rehabilitation center for children

Particularly well known is probably the bombing of the Mariupol Drama Theater on March 16, 2022. The building served as a shelter for hundreds of civilians, the word “children” was written in Russian on the floor on both sides of the theater.

The first recording is from March 14, two days before the attack. The second image showing the damage to the theater was taken on March 29, 2022 by a Maxar Technologies satellite.

At first, authorities feared hundreds of deaths. A few days later it was said that no people had died in the attack. The building withstood the impact and protected the lives of the people hiding in the shelter, wrote the Ukrainian ombudsman Ludmyla Denisova on Telegram.

Mariupol Theater before the bombing, taken on March 14, 2022.

Image copyright: Maxar Technologies / AFP

The destroyed theater after the attack.

Image copyright: Maxar Technologies / AFP

Destroyed rehabilitation center for children and young people in Mariupol

A video circulating via Telegram and Twitter shows a destroyed rehabilitation center for children and young people in Mariupol. Attacks in March destroyed the buildings that Mariupol Municipality said were renovated in the fall of 2021. It is not known exactly when the attack took place and whether people died as a result. According to the city administration, the renovation was financed by the European Investment Bank.

The building is located in the Livoberezhnyi district in the eastern part of Mariupol. The Russian state news agency Tass claimed on March 11 that the Ukrainian nationalists were staying in this part of the city. Russia continues to make such claims: The alleged Ukrainian nationalists serve as a pretext for the Russian leadership’s aggressive war against Ukraine.

The rehabilitation center for children and young people after the renovation work in the autumn of 2021.

Copyright: Presidential Program “Great Construction” / Government of Ukraine

The Rehabilitation Center after the bombing of the Russian military in March 2022.

Image Rights: Source: Telegram / Screenshot: BR

Kiev: The Ukrainian capital under fire

The Ukrainian capital Kiev has also been the target of Russian airstrikes for weeks. On the night of March 21, Russian rockets completely destroyed the Retroville shopping center in northwestern Kyiv; it had just opened in late May 2020. At least six people were killed, according to information from the news agency AFP. The explosion pulverized cars in the parking lot, leaving a crater several meters in diameter.

View of the mall, which opened in 2020, from a promotional video.

Image Rights: Source: Youtube Retroville / Screenshot: BR

After the airstrike on the night of March 21, the mall was completely destroyed.

Image copyright: Aris Messinis / AFP

The immediate vicinity of Kiev’s Lukianivska metro station was also hit by a Russian missile attack. The Google Streetview image was taken in 2015, and the image of the destruction was taken on March 17, 2022.

A large street with many shops and offices, near Lukianivska metro station, near the center of Kiev.

Image Rights: Source: Google / Screenshot: BR

Same street, taken March 17, 2022

Image copyright: Sergei SUPINSKY / AFP

Irpin: the suburb of Kyiv is a war theater

Some suburbs of Kiev, such as Irpin, are particularly hotly contested. The photos show one of the major roads running through Irpin from north to south. The orange hall is a shopping mall, the first shot is from May 2020.

During the Russian attacks, it was destroyed. Ukrainian troops have blocked the road. The second photo was taken on March 12, 2022.

A photo taken in May 2020 shows the street in Irpin before the start of the war

Image Rights: Source: Google / Screenshot: BR

The same street taken from a similar perspective in March 2022.

Image copyright: Sergei SUPINSKY / AFP

Satellite images show the center of Irpin was bombed near City Hall. The larger building with a blue roof is a school.

Irpin city center before the start of the war as seen on Google Earth.

Image Rights: Source: Google / Maxar Technologies / Screenshot: BR

A satellite image of the Irpin Center from the same perspective, taken March 21, 2022

Image copyright: Maxar Technologies / AFP

Chernihiv: Sports facilities and school attacked

Russian troops are besieging the city of Chernihiv north of Kiev and near the Belarusian and Russian borders. According to Ukrainian sources, there have been attacks on an emergency convoy with several dead in the past few days.

On Friday, April 1, the Chernihiv governor announced that Russian troops had withdrawn from the region. However, there are still some Russian soldiers on the scene. Russia announced on Tuesday that it would reduce attacks in the Chernihiv and Kyiv regions.

Chernihiv Olympic Training Center was damaged in bombing raids on the city. Satellite images show large craters on the sports field and in the stands.

The Olympic Training Center in Chernihiv. The recording is from 2020.

Image Rights: Source: Google / Maxar Technologies / Screenshot: BR

The crater of a rocket impact can be seen on the lawn and the grandstand is also destroyed. The photo was taken on March 16th.

Image copyright: Maxar Technologies / AFP

Schools were also bombed in Chernihiv, such as High School No. 18. The photos of the injuries were taken on March 4, 2022. According to Ukrainian authorities, 47 people died in the attacks on residential areas of Chernihiv on March 3.

Gymnasium No. 18 in Chernihiv, photographed in June 2015

Image Rights: Source: Google / Screenshot: BR

March 4, 2022: The same school in Chernihiv.

Image copyright: Dimitar Dilkoff / AFP

The schoolyard of the 18th school with a basketball hoop, photographed in June 2015

Image Rights: Source: Google / Screenshot: BR

March 4, 2022: The basketball hoop in front of the destroyed school building.

Image copyright: Dimitar Dilkoff / AFP

Mykolaiv: Administration building destroyed by rockets

The regional administration building in Mykolaiv, southern Ukraine, was hit by Russian missiles on March 29, 2022. Mykolaiv is an important port city between Odessa and the Crimean peninsula.

The city has been heavily bombed for weeks. Vitaly Kim, governor of the Mykolaiv district, said most of the people in the regional administration building were not injured but several civilians and soldiers were missing.

The administration building in Mykolaiv before the start of the war.

Image copyright: Source: Yandex / Screenshot: BR

Russian missiles tore a large hole in the building of the regional administration in Mykolaiv

Image copyright: Bulent Kilic / AFP

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