In one of the doorways a blackened kettle boils on an open fire, blowing clouds of steam into the bitter air. This place should be buzzing with life and sound, with the chatter of children playing and clambering over the climbing frame that dominates the square.
But since the Russians came, everything has changed here. Most people fled, and they're yet to return. There's just one small, hardy group who are trying to pave the way for others to come back.
Sergei and his wife arrived at their flat five days ago. Now they and their neighbours are trying to rebuild their damaged homes, and clearing away the debris of countless Russian shells.
"You always want to come back home", he tells me. "So we used our first chance to return as well. And we used our chance to make sure that all the property is safe, even from locals that might come and steal something."
Sergei takes me to an open grave in the shadow of his building. It's just a few steps away, and we walk in the deep grooves the Russian tanks carved into the mud as they rolled in. Sergei's neighbour - killed as he tried to take a photo of them - lay here.
His name and the date he died are written of a piece of wooden pallet, a rough and temporary gravestone. When Sergei returned home, one of the first things he wanted to do was finally give him a dignified burial.