Irpin was the site of one of the first major battles after the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24. Ukrainian forces were able to recapture the town on March 28, two weeks after Russian troops had gained control of half the town.
According to a press release from the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, the shrapnel was “a very symbolic gift, not only because Irpin is one of the first ‘martyr towns’ affected by Russian aggression against Ukraine but also because such pieces of land mine are extracted from the bodies of Ukrainian soldiers, civilians, and children, a visible sign of the destruction and death that war brings every day.”
Recent power outages are affecting approximately 4.5 million Ukrainians after Russian attacks on civilian infrastructure, according to President Volodymyr Zelensky, CNN reported.
The U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said Nov. 7 that conservative estimates count 16,462 civilian casualties in Ukraine since Feb. 24, with more than 6,400 civilians killed, including 1,731 women and 403 adolescents and children.
The Ukrainian government estimates civilian deaths to be as high as 29,000. In June, the Ukrainian government said 10,000 members of the Ukrainian forces had been killed, 30,000 wounded, and 7,200 were missing in the first three months after the invasion.
During his meeting with Archbishop Shevchuk on Monday, Pope Francis reiterated his closeness to the Ukrainian people in prayer and action. He encouraged the Ukrainian Catholic leader and his fellow bishops to carry out “an evangelical service of closeness to the suffering people,” the archbishop’s press release said.