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The Russians destroyed the volunteers' storehouse in Zaporizhzhya

"We lost almost everything. Animal food and humanitarian kits were pulled out from under the rubble and given to rescue workers. To those who sacrifice themselves daily for the sake of others," journalist and volunteer Denys Minin said about the consequences of the Russian shelling of the building.

Crews worked to extinguish fires and search for missing people after a Russian missile strike on a residential building in Zaporizhzhya.

Shattered towns, mass graves and suffering beyond measure greet the Ukrainian forces, steadily pushing back Russian troops, revealing the civilian and military toll of the war and the invaders' occupation in the east and south. The Ukrainian counteroffensive and Russian retreat are mocking the Kremlin's claims to have annexed four regions of Ukraine after sham referendums. However, Russia's advantage in arms and its conscription of civilians could change that balance.

The slow-moving war of summer, waged with long-range artillery that flattened whole towns, has given way to rapid Ukrainian advances. But for Kyiv's forces, the joy at retaking territory seized by the Russians is tempered by the brutal cost, both in and out of their ranks and by the knowledge that a large part of Ukraine remains in Moscow's hands. This is what winning now looks like ruined buildings, crumpled bridges, burned-out vehicles and depopulated places where the few residents who remain look haunted, many of them older, hungry, sick, and cold. And everywhere, bodies of dead soldiers and civilians, hastily dug graves, in blasted cars or just lying out in the open.

The Russians have retreated in the Kherson, Donetsk and Kharkiv regions, and even on the edges of the Luhansk region, with heavy casualties on both sides. In Zaporizhzhya, where a Russian-occupied nuclear power plant has been shelled repeatedly, the game of nuclear chicken continues. With no end to the war, it is hard to contemplate what it would take for Ukrainians to rebuild their lives and their country. The scale of the task is staggering.

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