The Russian retreat last week has left behind clues of the battle waged to keep a grip on Borodianka, just 50km (30 miles) northwest of the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv.
The modest town has been turned inside out. The buildings are flayed open, spilling clothing into the treetops.
A trip along the long straight road through Borodianka is a procession of the grimly absurd.
An apartment block is hollowed by a blast, a charred mattress hangs out in the open sky. A burned-out tank is parked in the guts of a savaged building. Children’s toys are strewn everywhere in the street, too many to count.
Doddering down the muddied central road pushing a trolley of aid parcels, Mykola Kazmyrenko cannot comprehend it.
“I can’t even look at it, it makes me want to cry,” the 57-year-old said. “People are void of their homes.”
“I know five civilians were killed,” said 58-year-old Rafik Azimov. “But we don’t know how many more are left in the basements of the ruined buildings after the bombardments.”
Though the human cost in Borodianka is not yet fully apparent, the devastation is more complete.