Home Europe Shell-Shocked Kharkiv Gets Ukraine’s First Underground School

Shell-Shocked Kharkiv Gets Ukraine’s First Underground School

Ukraine’s first purpose-built underground school has opened its doors to children in Kharkiv, the country’s second biggest city. Located six meters underground, the school is designed to accommodate 900 students who will be taught in two shifts.

Teachers and parents hope the school will shield children from daily missile and drone attacks and allow for uninterrupted educational activities during school days.

Kharkiv is frequently targeted by Russian missiles, drones and artillery. Faced with the constant threat of attacks on schools in the region of around 2.5 million people, which borders Russia, were forced into online learning after Russian launched a military assault in February 2022.

Marina Prikhodko, a mother of two, said her children were eagerly awaiting the first day at school. “My elder daugther, a third grader, could hardly wait to come here, dress up for the occasion, meet her friends that she missed very much,” she said.

“For my son, who is a first grader, it is like a festive day, a chance to meet his classmates in real life—not online—and play with them,” she added.

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The heavily fortified underground school, designed to withstand direct hits and equipped with everything necessary for the learning process will allow children to safely return to in-person studies, said Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov. He added that city authorities were planning to construct at least three more underground schools.

Drone footage released on Monday showed buildings destroyed by what Ukrainian authorities said was a Russian missile strike on a settlement in northern Kharkiv region.

Kharkiv’s Regional Prosecutor’s Office, which released the footage, said in a post via Telegram that the strike on the Korotych settlement, which lies just north of the city of Kharkiv, left at least one dead and four injured.

Moscow’s troops entered Ukraine near Kharkiv last week, opening a new, northeastern front in a war that has for almost two years been largely fought in the east and south. The advance could draw some of Kyiv’s depleted forces away from the east, where Russia has been slowly advancing.

(With inputs from Reuters)