KYIV — When Ihor Sumliennyi, a young environmental activist, arrived at the site of a recent missile strike, the rubble had barely stopped smoking.
Police officers guarded the street. People who had lived in the smashed apartment building stared in disbelief, some making the sign of the cross next to him. He started poking around.
And then, bam! His eyes lit up. Right in front of him, lying near the sidewalk, was exactly what he was looking for: a mangled chunk of shrapnel, a piece of the actual Russian cruise missile that had slammed into the building.
Serhii Petrov, a well-known artist working in Lviv. He’s now incorporating spent bullet cartridges into the masks he makes.
As he handled one, he mused, “Maybe it was someone’s last bullet.”
At a charity auction in Lviv on Sunday, Valentyn Lapotkov, a computer programmer, paid more than $500 for an empty missile tube that had been used, the auctioneers said, to blow up a Russian armored personnel carrier. He said that when he touched it he felt “close to our heroes.”
Memorializing the war, even when it’s likely far from over, is a way to show solidarity with the soldiers and those who have suffered. One of Kyiv’s biggest museums recently staged an exhibition of war artifacts collected since the Russians invaded in February. The rooms are full of gas masks, missile tubes and charred debris. The message is clear: See, this is what real war really looks like.
Fridays for Future movement, organizing social media campaigns against fossil fuels, and during the hundreds of video calls he makes, he shows off his war trophies. He also sends some out of the country with female activists to “go on tour” (he can’t travel himself, because of Ukraine’s ban on military-age men leaving the country).