Mayor Ihor Terekhov has disclosed that Ukraine’s eastern metropolis of Kharkiv will build the country’s first fully underground school to shield pupils from Russia’s frequent bomb and missile attacks.
“Such a shelter will enable thousands of Kharkiv children to continue their safe face-to-face education even during missile threats,” Terekhov noted on the Telegram messaging app.
Terekhov added that the new school would “meet the most modern regulatory requirements for protective structures.”
Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, had a population of more than 1.4 million before Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022.
Parts of the city lie less than 35km (20 miles) from the Russian border and it has been subject to near-daily Russian rocket and missile attacks that can hit before residents can reach shelters.
While many schools in the frontline regions have been forced to teach online throughout the war, Kharkiv has organised about 60 separate classrooms throughout its metro stations.
This was before the school year started on September 1, 2023, creating space for more than 1,000 children to study there.
Before the start of this school year, Kharkiv city authorities hit on a simple plan to bring in-person school back; inside the city’s deep metro system.
Kharkiv’s Head of education, Olha Demenko, stated that at the height of the bombing last year, 160,000 people, of which 7,000 were children, slept at the Kharkiv underground.
It was not immediately clear how big the school will be or when it will open.
However, the Mayor said that funding for schools would not be cut “by a single hryvnia” this year or next, adding that “Kharkiv is the most intelligent city in Ukraine” thanks to its educational community.
According to Ukraine’s ministry of education, 363 educational institutions have been destroyed and nearly 3,800 damaged throughout the country as a result of the ongoing war.
Meanwhile, several residents from Kamianka, a village in Kharkiv, have returned to their homes after the area, once occupied by Russia, was liberated by Ukrainian forces.
Before the war, more than 1,200 people lived in the village of Kamianka. About 70 people have now returned but are struggling to live in the houses that were damaged during the invasion.
Families are now making attempts to rebuild their homes, even as the war persists in the country.
Ukraine Bolstering Air Defence System
The Commander of the Ukrainian armed forces, Serhii Naiev, announced that Kyiv is strengthening its air defence system in the country’s northern regions in preparation for potential Russian attacks on energy infrastructure during the winter months.
“Measures aimed at increasing the quantity of mobile firing groups are being taken in the Northern Operational Zone together with the heads of oblast military administrations.
“This is essential to enhancing the effectiveness of the air defence network.”Serhii Naiev
During an historic meeting of EU foreign ministers in the Ukrainian capital on Monday, October 2, 2023, German Foreign Minister, Annalena Baerbock, called for the creation of a winter strategy to insulate Ukraine from the fallout of intensified Russian air attacks on the country’s energy grid.
“We saw last winter the brutal way in which the Russian president wages this war with targeted attacks on critical infrastructure such as power plants,” Baerbock said.
Naiev’s statement was apparently in response to Baerbock statement.