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Maria and Viktor
I want
everyone to
know how we are
One year of
war in Ukraine
February 2023
Map of Ukraine
2021, before war

The war was just a few weeks old when Maria and Viktor’s lives changed forever.

The retired couple live in the village of Moshchun, just outside Kyiv.

They have been married for 15 years and, with four children from their previous marriages, had worked hard to build a new, combined family.

Viktor’s abundant vegetable and flower garden was his joy. He built a sauna and an outdoor shower. Everything inside the house was also to their exact specifications.


In mid-March, the village was attacked by Russian soldiers. The home that Maria and Viktor had poured so much love into was destroyed.


The war in Ukraine continues to cause widespread death, destruction and suffering. It has left nearly 18 million people in need of assistance and protection.

The country has also become one of the world’s largest minefields.

UNDP is supporting the government on mine action and debris removal and providing specialist equipment and training. As the UN Mine Action lead in Ukraine since 2016, UNDP has also coordinated joint efforts, provided technical assistance and supported damage assessments. With our partners we have now reached almost 3.5 million people.

Ukrainians are resourceful and resilient, but they will need support for decades.

Maria and Viktor were able to make a makeshift shelter in their sauna. Instead of enjoying the rewards of a long, productive life, they must start over.


Energy is one of Ukraine’s most fundamental challenges.

An estimated 50 percent of Ukraine’s high voltage energy infrastructure has been destroyed. Regular power cuts are leaving whole communities without heat, light or water.

Electricity grid equipment is desperately needed to address the escalating energy crisis and protect the lives and wellbeing of millions. UNDP is buying five high voltage autotransformers and emergency equipment for the worst affected cities.

At the request of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, UNDP and the World Bank are leading a comprehensive assessment of infrastructure damage which will also provide an opportunity to build forward better, with a focus on clean energy.

“Russia has started a series of massive systematic strikes on critical energy infrastructure to cut off the supply of electricity and heat to the Ukrainian households and industry. It is tricky to measure the impacts because the destruction of one key substation can cut off electricity supply for a couple million people. On some days in January, we had about 6 million disconnected consumers.” - Yaroslav Demchenkov,
Deputy Minister of Energy, Ukraine
UNDP is helping authorities with their emergency response, strengthening public services, ensuring that debris is removed and supporting local communities as they recover and build the futures they want to see.

One year on, our aspirations for Ukrainians must be greater than simply survival.

UNDP has been working in Ukraine for decades and will continue to support its government and citizens to meet the most urgent critical needs while laying the foundations for long-term resilient development.

“In addition to repairing damaged schools and health centres and community buildings, UNDP is also focused on partnering with the government to help strengthen services. From rehabilitating the country’s energy systems to digitizing social services, the aim is to help build community resilience and ensure no one is left behind.” - Jaco Cilliers,
Acting Resident Representative, UNDP Ukraine

Helping to rebuild communities is about more than just structural repairs, it’s about providing opportunities and giving people ownership of their lives and futures.

The Ukrainian Government assesses the cost of recovery at US$600 billion to $750 billion.

UNDP has helped more than 20,000 Ukrainians get back to work. With feedback from small business owners and local communities, we are providing small grants and training, particularly for women-led businesses.

In Moshchun, Maria and Viktor, tangible symbols of the iron will of a nation to survive, fight the war with their daily routine. They’ve run the gauntlet of landmines to begin replanting their garden. And attending to the task of keeping their fire alive, they hold out hope for the day when they can live in a house again.


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