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Good morning, this is Michelle and as Russian bombs continue to rain down on Ukraine, organisations are pouring their resources into assisting the suffering population in any way they can. Today we’re bringing you the first of a series of stories about how international Geneva is contributing to these efforts.

While the war might be far from over, some think that it is not too early to start thinking about rebuilding. That conviction is what has brought together the mayor of Kharkiv, a famous British architect and several UN organisations to rehabilitate the Ukrainian city as a city of the future.

On the news front, the Human Rights Council has ordered an investigation into alleged abuses by Russian troops in the Kyiv region.

photo journaliste

Michelle Langrand


Rebuilding war torn cities

Photo article

A scene of devastation in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on 18 April 2022. (Credit: UNICEF/Gilbertson VII Photo)

Kharkiv to rise again. While Russian bombs continue to pummel Ukraine, a famous architect, a mayor and UN organisations are joining forces to rebuild Kharkiv as a city of the future.

Ukraine's second city has risen from the ashes before. The great destruction of Kharkiv in the war against Adolf Hitler's Germany made it possible to rebuild the city after the war that people said was the war to end all of them.

The new Kharkiv then had broad streets, large apartment blocks, and imposing and big administrative and office buildings. Seventy-seven years later, the city close to the Russian border came again under fierce air, artillery, and rocket bombardment for weeks, turning swathes of it into rubble-filled bomb craters.

Kharkiv, a city of almost 1.5 million people, was one of Russian president Vladimir Putin’s prime targets as Russian forces made their way to the capital of Kyiv to seize the country he covets. Half the population fled, but the Ukrainians repulsed the Russian attack and have been pushing their invaders further away.

Read more on Geneva Solutions (EN)

On our radar

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Yevheniia Filipenko, Ukraine's ambassador to the UN in Geneva, at the Human Rights Council special session on Thusday 12 May, 2022. (UNTV)

UN rights council greenlights Kyiv region crimes probe. A total of 33 members voted in favour of the Ukraine-led draft resolution, which calls on the recently launched commission of inquiry to investigate events in the areas around Kyiv, as well as Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Sumy that were temporarily held by Russian troops. China and Eritrea voted against the proposal while 12 countries abstained. Russia, which was suspended from the rights body in April, did not attend the extraordinary session.

Geneva Solutions (EN)

Here’s what else is happening

Ukraine Stories

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Kharkiv Regional Clinical Perinatal Center, Ukraine. March 2022. (Credit: Yana Krylenko)

Birth amid war. Kharkiv felt the full force of Russia’s assault and is still in danger from long-range weapons and airstrikes. While most of its population has escaped, some felt a need to remain, including Yana and her husband, doctors bringing newborns into the world. Journalist Oleksandra Ambroz recorded her story.

Geneva Solutions (EN)

They’re talking about us! Radio show Médialogues speaks to Le Temps deputy chief Serge Michel and Reporters Without Borders secretary general for Switzerland Denis Masmejan about Ukraine Stories as a unique project that brings together the voices of Ukrainian and Russian journalists who are reporting on the war.


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