Volunteers paint flowers of hope in war-torn Ukraine

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Volunteers paints sunflowers on the side of a damaged car in Irpin, Ukraine, on Wednesday

KYIV — Images of sunflowers have started appearing on burned-out cars and the walls of bombed buildings in the Ukrainian city of Irpin, amid the Russian invasion.

Located near Kyiv, Irpin was the scene of fierce fighting in February and March as Russian forces approached the capital, and many civilians in the area were killed indiscriminately by the invaders.

A group of local volunteers has started painting sunflowers, the national flower of Ukraine, around the city, which still bears scars from the fighting months after Russian forces pulled out of the area.

Launched this month, the Flowers for Hope project is the brainchild of an artist who wanted to turn things that remind people of the conflict into symbols of mourning and resistance.

On Wednesday, Olena Yanko, 32, painted the side of a damaged car, saying she wants “people who see the sunflowers to feel solace and hope.”