Banksy unveils Ukrainian mural in Russian-bombed city


Banksy, the elusive British street artist, has painted a mural on a bombed-out building outside the Ukrainian capital that Ukrainians have hailed as a symbol of their country’s invincibility.

On Friday night, the world-renowned graffiti artist posted three images of the artwork on Instagram – a gymnast doing a handstand amid the ruins of a demolished building in the town of Borodyanka, northwest of the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.

The caption read ‘Borodyanka, Ukraine’.

Along with cities like Bucha and Irpin, Borodyanka was badly hit by Russia’s bombardments and became a symbol of the devastation it caused Moscow’s offensive since February.

The city was briefly occupied by Russian forces before withdrawing in April.

“It’s a symbol that we are unbreakable,” 32-year-old Oleksiy Savochka told AFP on Saturday, referring to the graffiti. “And our country is unbreakable.”

A series of murals – in the style of Banksy – have surfaced in and around Kyiv, leading Ukrainians to believe the anonymous street artist could be working in the war-ravaged country.

Another graffiti in Borodyanka – whose origin the artist has not confirmed – shows a young boy throwing a man in judo uniform to the ground.

A local resident walks past a graffiti on a wall of a destroyed building, drawn in Banksy style but whose origin has not been confirmed by the artist, in the town of Borodyanka amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine November 12, 2022.

GENIA SAVILOV/AFP via Getty Images

The scene could be a possible reference to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is a martial arts enthusiast.

“It’s a little boy against an old man and he’s defeated, he’s already defeated,” Bogdan Mashay, a 30-year-old Ukrainian TV journalist, told AFP near the artwork.

“It’s incredible that Banksy is here in Borodyanka,” he added.

On the side of a ruined building in Irpin, a third mural – also unconfirmed by Banksy – shows a gymnast performing a loop routine, though he appears to be injured and wearing a collar.

TOPSHOT – Local residents look at a Banksy-style graffiti on the wall of a destroyed residential building in Irpin near Kyiv on November 12, 2022 amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the origin of which remains unconfirmed by the artist.

GENIA SAVILOV/AFP via Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Friday Kherson “ours” after Russia withdrew troops from the strategic southern city.

Kherson was the first major urban center to fall after Putin ordered Russian troops into Ukraine on February 24.

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