Emmanuel Macron, Olaf Scholz and Mario Draghi on Thursday morning traveled to Irpin, one of the towns in the Kyiv suburbs that has become a symbol of the destruction and atrocities committed during the Russian army’s occupation of the region in March, stated the AFP on site.
European leaders, along with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, were led by armed Ukrainian soldiers surrounded by heavy security forces and a crowd of journalists.
Like other foreign leaders who came to Kyiv before them, MM Macron, Scholz, Draghi and Iohannis strolled the streets of Irpin, where the scars of the bombings are ever-present.
The leaders asked their guide questions about the return of the city’s residents and the planned reconstruction work before watching a few minutes of video showing Irpin three months ago at the height of the fighting.
“Make Europe Not War” (“Make Europe, not war”) was written on the walls of a destroyed building. An inscription that Macron saw and commented: “It’s the right message (…) it’s very moving to see that,” he said.
Irpin, just outside Kiev’s northwestern gates, was the scene of fierce clashes between Russians and Ukrainians in the early days of the Russian invasion in late February. The Russian army quickly took control of this affluent suburb, surrounded by pine trees and populated by 60,000 before the war, which they then occupied throughout March.
Kyiv has since accused Russian forces of committing war crimes in Irpin and the neighboring towns of Boutcha and Borodianka, after hundreds of civilian bodies were discovered in those locations after the Russian army withdrew in late March.
International investigations are underway to identify those responsible for the war crimes that Ukrainians have accused Russian forces of committing.