Last Monday, the association Stand with Ukraine travelled to Ovroutch, a small Ukrainian town
close to the Belarusian frontier, accompanied by Mr Thibaut Guignard, Mayor of the municipality
of Ploeuc l’Hermitage and Vice-President of the Urban Area of Saint-Brieuc. This visit came a
week after a journey by the Vice-Mayor of Ovroutch accompanied by other Ukrainian Mayors to
We arrive in Ovroutch after a two hour drive, and are welcomed by the Mayor and Vice-Mayor of
the municipality, with whom the friendship links created virtually and subsequently in France
guarantee a joyful reunion! We are honoured to be offered a traditional welcome with special
bread. Before the war this municipality of 35,000 people was known for its landscape of fields
and forest, rare stones and tourism.
At the town hall we hear about the authorities’ constant vigilance faced by the threat of an
enemy who approached close to the town – in the early days of the invasion the aggressor was
repelled by the territorial defense of Ovroutch. Describing the suffering of his municipality, the
Mayor conveys to France and to the Urban Area of Saint-Brieuc his gratitude for their solidarity.
The strikes destroyed 180 buildings, and killed 120 people.
However, as throughout Ukraine in the last year, determination to rebuild is paramount: missile
fragments have been collected by the town’s fire service, the creation of coloured straw tableaux
at the academy of popular art has recommenced under the sharp gaze of its director Mr
Ivanovitch, and a brand new kindergarten is being built. There are clouds in the sky, but the
glacial Ukrainian February is long over.