The near silence and utter wasteland left behind by this Russian invasion is crushingly complete and takes your breath away.

The cultural centre of Byshiv village is levelled.

There’s a small pile of Ukrainian poetry books which someone has stacked together.

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This was the village’s centrepiece, a place where they celebrated art, creativity, and their heritage.

A nearby building – which itself is battered and broken – has been used to salvage what they can.

Piles of books are stowed against the wall. They are pitiful remains after decades and decades of storing, preserving, and nurturing their cultural identity and history.

This is wanton and brutal destruction, and it is as total as it is senseless.

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Byshiv is only a small community about 22 miles (35km) west of the capital – but it is guilty of being in the way of the Russian advance into Kyiv.

It will take years to rebuild and probably never be the same.

There are volunteers busy carrying the remains of the contents inside the village’s Kashtan kindergarten.

The walls still standing are plastered with cheerful murals and childish drawings and mementos of times gone past when more than 100 pre-schools gathered at this launchpad for education.

For the past two decades, the woman at the helm has been Svetlana Grybovska.

Now she’s presiding over the rubble that’s been left.

She’s beside herself at this mindless bombing.

“A lot of this was hand-made. We did it all ourselves,” she says of the artwork and junior crafts which used to adorn each room.

She’s instructing the men to gather as many intact cupboards and toys as they can, and already thinking of a future devoid of bombing and shelling.

But it’s a future no one can conceive of right now.

The classrooms have been empty of little pupils for over a month now.

If they ever return, it won’t be to the school or life they left behind, that is for sure.

The headteacher can barely talk through her sobs.

She wants to, but has resisted our gentle requests for an interview up until now.

“I cannot talk without crying,” she explains.

When she relents, she speaks with the genuine heartbreak of a woman who has dedicated her entire career to being the custodian of the next generation’s education – and seen that all destroyed in an instant.

“I’d like for all of this to be sorted,” she tells us, “for there to just be peace… for there to be friendship. It’s so difficult when it’s children who are suffering.”

“It’s not right. Children are not guilty of anything,” she says.

But hitting the heart of the community is the Russian military trademark, and it’s a tactic they’ve repeatedly used – in Chechnya and in Syria.

The Russian troops may have stalled, but this is no failure by the aggressors. It’s rather their well-used sledgehammer tactics of bombing into submission – and if no submission – then total annihilation.

The Ukrainians may have forced the Russian troops to halt, even retreat in certain areas around the capital. The military carcasses we see outside the Kyiv Oblast [region] are testament to that.

But the Ukrainian president is calling for fighter jets, tanks and missiles so his troops can take on their Russian invaders with much more pinpoint success, and he’s getting increasingly frustrated at the procrastination by his Western allies.

There’s still much fighting around the capital’s outskirts and much destruction in the outlying communities.

We saw Ukrainian pamphlets laying amongst the rubble, written in Russian and appealing directly to the Russian troops following the orders to carry out this devastation.

One said: “The blood of Ukrainian children is on your hands.”

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Another offered roubles and amnesty if they surrendered and put down their weapons.

In Ukraine’s main city, despite constant defiant declarations that they will win eventually, they’re protecting their monuments anyway.

Everyone here is mindful that the Russian military machine seems to view everything and everyone as legitimate targets – and victory in Russian eyes may be synonymous with obliteration.