This Is Reno photographer and video journalist Ty O’Neil, whose passion lies with documenting conflict zones, traveled to Europe to document the war in Ukraine and its impacts. This Is Reno will continue to follow Ty’s efforts in Ukraine as he is able to send them.
BOYARKA, Ukraine – About 30 minutes southwest of the city center of Kyiv lies the town of Boyarka. It is not like the decimated Ukrainian cities you may have seen on the news. It is a relatively undamaged city that, during our visit, was fairly busy with people shopping and working.
I traveled to Boyarka with two other reporters, a resident and a translator to visit the site of two Russian missile strikes that had hit, we were told, on March 26. One missile struck a large apartment building and the other a single home.
We were unable to gain access to the apartment building interior, but the damage was clear from the outside. Windows were blown out and a large chunk of the building had been blown away.
It appeared some are still living in the apartments.
Just down the road a single home had been hit by a missile. The home still stood, though a large section had been blown away. Large cracks had formed, making it appear that at least two walls were likely very unstable. The residents of the house were not home but we were able to meet with two neighbors.
The closest neighbor had shrapnel damage to his home and most of his windows blown out.
Igor Sviredenko showed us a large section of the missile body that was in his yard. He showed me damage the missile had done to the property. A tree between the damaged home and his home was torn to shreds. A set of heavy metal gates showed the extreme force of the missile, which sent shrapnel and debris straight through the gate, across the road through a thin metal fence and into or through the home across the street.
An older woman from that house, a relative of Sviredenko, came out to meet us. When she learned we were members of the news media, she ushered us inside to show us more damage.
A chunk of shrapnel was jammed into her wooden ironing table, which stood next to her stove. She mimed to us that, had she been cooking when it struck, the missile would have likely killed her. She was correct.
She then led us to the room of a child who had been evacuated. Shrapnel had ripped through her entire home. It entered the child’s room through a window then through a frosted glass door, then through the living room and out another window where it disappeared somewhere either in her yard or neighbor’s property.
Perhaps noticing my concern for the situation, the woman took us to what she called her “bunker,” an underground cellar where she had set up a sleeping area and heater.
While it’s not the total destruction seen elsewhere in Ukraine, these two strikes emphasize the peril Ukrainian citizens are facing.
Two seemingly random missiles flew into a residential community drastically changing the lives of its residents. The impacts were being felt by not just those who were directly affected, but also by people from the entire town who now know that at any time – and with no warning – a seemingly random missile could come from the sky and destroy everything.