When our BBC team was last able to come here, about three weeks ago, the city was badly damaged. Now it is in ruins.
Irpin sits in an arc of towns that also includes Bucha and Hostomel, where the most important fighting for the future of Kyiv is taking place. If it is important for Kyiv, it is important for the rest of the country. The capital remains the biggest prize.
It seems clear now that a central part of Russia’s strategy when President Putin ordered the invasion was a decisive thrust into Kyiv, to replace the troublesome Zelensky government with one that would do as it was told.