Ukraine: Lviv Residents Revive Soviet-Era Bomb Shelters

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A group of Lviv locals have volunteered to clean up bomb-shelters that they hope could save lives in case the conflict reaches the west of Ukraine. Everyone stresses that they would never have believed that they'd be involved in such activities a year ago. None of them thought a war would come to Ukraine. This isn't the first shelter the volunteers have cleaned and restored, and restoring the rest of the region's bomb shelters is a daunting task. The Lviv region alone has over 160 shelters, most of them abandoned by the state since the break-up of the USSR. Although they are fully functional, most of the shelters have become cesspits full of rubbish and dirt. Besides cleaning up the underground concrete rooms, the volunteers have set up electricity and illumination to make the shelters more livable in case they should need to be used.


  1. soundbite (Ukrainian)
    Vasyl Ivandivka, Community organizer, head of DemAlliance party: 00:28 This action is called “Attention, Bombproof Shelter." We initiated it in order to arrange as many shelters in Lviv as possible. We engaged the maximal number of volunteers we could reach, and we’ve already cleaned up five shelters. All these people are ordinary volunteers, who used to join us previously, when we held a campaign at a military plant to help repair ATO tanks.
  2. soundbite (Ukrainian)
    Alina, Volunteer: 00:56 Of course, we do not expect a bombardment in Lviv or some other threat for the people. However, you can’t be sure of anything, because last year showed us that things which were barely expected and which could appear only in nightmares can actually occur.
  3. soundbite (Ukrainian)
    Yulia, Volunteer: 01:20 Why we are here? Because I consider that human beings should live their lives in a manner as to be an example for their own children. My husband and I have three children, and they do know volunteer now. It’s a good example. Because children shouldn’t be taught in some special way... You should simply act as well as you would like your children to.