A sunny morning in front of Chernobylska 9a in Kyiv.

The warm rays that shimmer through the fresh green of the trees envelop the well-kept green areas in a friendly light.

The red and white barrier tape is still fluttering in the spring air around the earthy crater in front of the block of flats.

Then the hum of a drill mixes with the chirping of the birds.

Alexander Haneke

Editor in Politics.

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Oleh Surow is back in his small shop in the annex building for the first day.

In fact, everything the neighborhood needs is here.

Sausage, some pastries or sweets for the little ones, but now the shelves are sparsely stocked.

The impact in front of number 9a, less than 30 meters from Surov's shop, shattered the windows and threw the displays through the shop.

In the weeks that followed, nobody was here, most of the customers had fled to safety from Kyiv anyway.

"But it's time to move on," says Surov and, with his strong hands, tightens the next screw with which he fixes a chipboard in the empty window frame.

"The economy has to get going again, I have to pay taxes and do something for the state," he says, letting a smile cross his grumpy face.

Like an ongoing weekend

At 4:10 a.m. on March 15, a Russian missile landed directly in front of Chernobylska 9a in western Kiev.

It is said that it was not aimed at the block of flats but was taken out of the air by a Ukrainian defense system.

The front in the Kiev suburb of Irpin was only a few kilometers away, and the roar of battle could be heard constantly.

In 9a, the detonation destroyed the lower floors, ripped all the windows out of their frames and set a gas line on fire.

Four people died in the fire, "including a 26-year-old young woman and a deaf elderly man," says a local resident who had taken refuge in the hairdressing salon in the neighboring house during the night, where she cleans twice a week.

She has lived here since 1975, she says, and now everything is broken.

Life is returning to the Ukrainian capital.

Gardeners are tidying up the flower beds on Independence Square, and the trains rolling into Kiev Central Station from the west are full of people again.

It has been more than a month since Russian troops withdrew from the north of the country.

Fierce fighting raged in Kiev's suburbs for weeks.

The soot-blackened ruins still stand there between the fresh green of the trees.

But the streets have been cleared and the sidewalks swept.

"Coming back was incredible," says Nelia Vakhovska, sitting on an armchair next to the balcony of her small old-style downtown apartment.

"I never loved Kyiv so much." Vakhovska had only been at her dacha west of Kyiv for several weeks, when the front was getting closer there too, she fled further west.

"I felt such animal joy that the city remained intact," she says.

"People are suddenly all friendly to each other, and the city is so cozy."

Many say it almost feels like an ongoing weekend.

The cafés have placed their tables in the sun, and there is no stress or crowd anywhere.

The traffic jams, which have always been part of everyday life in the capital's heavy traffic, have so far only formed on the arterial roads, where there are still well-equipped checkpoints and defensive positions for possible new Russian attacks.

The subways run at leisurely intervals, and people stroll on the sidewalks without time pressure.

Because as much as people and life are returning, part of the reality of war is that the economy is more depressed and few would have any reason to rush to the office.

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