Before and after: Heartbreaking photos of Ukraine a year after Russia's invasion

From a university to a historical monastery, many important cultural landmarks have felt the impact of the war

Before and after pictures of a monastery in Ukraine
These heartbreaking before and after images show the devastating impact of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. (Photos: Getty Images)

Friday (24 February) marks the one-year anniversary of Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine, one of Europe's largest wars since World War II.

Ukraine, known as the "granary of Europe", has a long and rich history, and is also an important place for the Eastern Orthodox Church.

The magnificent monasteries, cathedrals and other historic sites made Ukraine of the countries once loved by tourists from all over the world.

Now, because of the outbreak of war, it is scenes of destruction that are widespread. Yahoo Taiwan compiled comparisons before and after of famous landmarks in Ukraine to show the devastating impact the war has had on the historical nation.

*Please swipe left and right according to the finger icon

Mariupol Theater

Mariupol, a port city in southeastern Ukraine, was invaded and surrounded by Russia in March 2022. It lasted for nearly three months until 20 May, and finally ended in Russia's victory.

It is estimated that at least 20,000 people died in Mariupol, and 95 per cent of the buildings were destroyed. Among them, the Mariupol Theater, where many Ukrainian civilians took refuge at the time.

Large placards were erected on both sides of the theatre, with the words "children" written in Russian, yet the site was still hit by air strikes, with Russia denying it had deliberately bombed the theatre.

Russian forces now occupy Mariupol, and have begun to demolish most of the theatre and the city along with it, in preparation for rebuilding.

V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University

Kharkiv is the second largest city in Ukraine and has been one of the most intense front-line areas thus far during the Russia-Ukraine War.

Located in the city of Kharkiv, the V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University was also heavily shelled, and the entire building of the Department of Economics was almost completely destroyed.

Kharkiv University is one of the oldest universities in Eastern Europe, having officially started enrolling students on 29 January, 1805.

Hotel Complex Misto

The Hotel Complex Misto, also in Kharkiv, was originally a trendy glass building, but was left a ghost of its former self after a series of shelling by the Russian army in September last year.

During this period, Russia launched almost daily offensives on the city.

The Princess Olga Monument in Kyiv

Olga of Kiev was a regent in the historical Kievan Rus, an Eastern Slavic state from 882-1240, as well as a saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church.

When former US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy last April, she was awarded the Order of Princess Olga, a civil decoration for women recognising their contributions in a variety of fields.

The Monument to Princess Olga, at the Mykhailivska Square (Saint Michael's Square) in Kyiv, is currently protected by layers of sandbags to protect it during bombardments by the Russian army.


Irpin, a city in the northwest of Kyiv, was one of the positions where Russian forces attacked in their attempt to encircle the Ukrainian capital, and came under heavy artillery fire.

In order to prevent Russian troops from entering Kyiv, the Ukrainian army blew up the Irpin Bridge on the outskirts of the capital at the end of March last year.

Although the Ukrainian army retook Irpin at the end of March, the urban area was devastated, and half of the key infrastructure was destroyed by the Russian army.

Sviatohirsk Lavra

The Sviatohirsk Lavra is one of the three major monasteries in Ukraine. It is located in the Donetsk Oblast in eastern Ukraine.

It is the centre of the Holy Mountains National Nature Park and an important centre of belief in eastern Ukraine and southern Russia.

During the Russian invasion of Ukraine, many civilians took refuge in the monastery, and the cellar accommodated more than 500 refugees.

It has been shelled continuously since March last year, and on 4 June, the main church of the monastery was even burned down.

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