Ukraine Braces for Russian Attack Amid Rebuilding Efforts

Kherson’s Resilience Amid Anticipated Russian Offensive

In the face of anticipated Russian aggression, the residents of Kherson, a city in southern Ukraine, are rebuilding their lives. Concrete pyramids, known as dragon’s teeth, mark the new defense lines Ukraine is constructing in anticipation of a Russian offensive. Meanwhile, locals are committed to a more pressing task: collecting donations for building supplies.

Rebuilding After A Brutal Occupation

Kherson region is slowly recovering from a brutal Russian occupation, forced to retreat by a Ukrainian counteroffensive 18 months ago. Residents have since repaired their homes and are gradually resuming their farming activities. However, amidst these signs of recovery, there is apprehension about another potential Russian attack. A local resident, Oksana, captures the prevailing mood, stating, “Anything is possible. There is talk of a big attack in May to June.”

Living Under The Shadow Of War

For those who lived through the eight-month-long Russian occupation, the memories remain vivid. The fear is that any new Russian offensive could be even harsher. Oksana shared her family’s ordeal during the occupation, including how her husband was gravely wounded by a shell blast. “It was scary,” she said, her voice shaking with emotion.

Communities Rising From the Ashes

The rural communities of Kherson, while resilient, are much degraded. Villages that once flourished on the front line are now shattered, with only a few families able to return and rebuild their homes. Despite the devastation, signs of life are returning, with electricity and gas services restored in most places.

The Ongoing Threat of Russian Rockets

Yet, these villages remain within the firing range of Russian rockets and bombs. Even as local communities take steps to protect themselves, creating underground shelters for children, Russian missiles continue to strike local infrastructure, heightening the sense of fear and insecurity.

Deep Wounds of Occupation

Beneath the physical destruction lie deep emotional wounds from the occupation. Many families have lost loved ones to the war or have men serving at the front lines. The trauma of the occupation has also created divisions within communities, with accusations of collaboration and resentment over compensation adding to the stress of post-war life.

Despite these challenges, the people of Kherson remain determined and hopeful. As local farmer Viktor Klets puts it, “Life is like a long field. Anything could happen along the way.” This spirit of resilience and anticipation defines Kherson as it rebuilds and braces for potential future conflicts.