A month of war in Ukraine in ten shocking photographs


All the horror spread during 30 days of war in Ukraine It cannot be summed up in a few lines and neither can a handful of photos cover it, but perhaps what the sum of words and images will achieve is to underline, once again and very clearly, the reasons why each new day you have to hope that the last one arrives soon.

The next ten pictures they are nothing more than that, ten reasons. And it could be many more; as many as the number of snapshots captured by photojournalists displaced to that invaded country since last February 24 to show those who are not there the multiple faces of the conflict: the suffering of the civilians, the cities that have been destroyed, the siege of the Russian troops, the resistance of the Ukrainian army and, in short, the human drama that derives from all of the above.

yours are the only harmless and necessary shots of this war.

The first hours of fear and darkness

One of the sensations most often enclosed within the photographs left by the Russian invasion is fear. Hundreds of graphic and written testimonies will remain from that first day of anti-aircraft sirens on how panic spread among citizens, who, in many cases, ran to supermarkets to stock up on food, fled to other areas of the country forming huge traffic jams or decided protect yourself in the subway or in basements of the buildings. This photograph of Oleg Petrasyuk was taken on February 24 at a kyiv metro station where many families spent the night.

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Numerous citizens take refuge in a kyiv metro station. EFE/EPA/OLEG PETRASYUK

The advance of Russia and death

On the second day of the invasion, the Russian troops already achieved enter the capitalKyiv, which experienced intense bombing, as did Kharkiv, the country’s second largest city. There, this other photograph was taken on February 25, in which the body of a soldier lies, half-buried in snow, next to a burned-out Russian combat vehicle. reflects well the advance of the offensive and, consequently, the advance of death.

The body of a soldier lies lifeless next to a Russian combat vehicle. EFE EFE/EPA/SERGEY KOZLOV

The goodbye that tears

Another of the most heartbreaking images of this war is the one left by goodbyes. Hundreds of families have been forced to separate at stations or border crossings since Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky declared martial law preventing Ukrainian men between the ages of 16 and 60 from leaving the country during the war. They must stay there to fight against the Russian army and they have no choice but to say goodbye to their loved ones without knowing if they will see them again. In the image, dated March 4, a father says goodbye to his son on an evacuation train leaving from the kyiv train station and heading somewhere away from the bombs and missiles.

Farewell of a father and his son at the kyiv train station. SERGEI CHUZAVKOV / AFP

The life that makes its way between death and the attack on motherhood

On March 2, the woman in the following photograph was holding the baby who had just given birth in the basement of a hospital Maternal from kyiv that has been used as a bomb shelter. The life of that baby, like that of so many others, made its way in the middle of a panorama where death already reigned. No child should be born or live in the middle of a war and no woman should give birth listening to explosions, but at least they both had a future ahead of them then. On the other hand, the fatalities of the attack perpetrated in Mariúpol against a children’s hospital do not. Among them, a pregnant mother who did not stop stroking her belly while she was evacuated from that collapsed building and who finally died, as did the baby she was carrying inside her.

A mother holds her newborn baby in her arms in the basement of a kyiv hospital. EFE/EPA/ROMAN PILIPEY

Leaving everything behind and suddenly becoming a refugee

Thousands of kilometers from Ukraine, it is hard to imagine what it must be like become a refugee in a matter of days; leave everything behind to get on a train that will end in another country and that will mark the beginning of another life very different from the previous one. In the last month, more than 3.6 million people have been in that situation. it’s your turn follow in the distance the crude news that arrives from Ukraine and, in many cases, crying for relatives or friends who would also have wanted to flee, but cannot.

The train that appears in the photograph departed on March 15 from Lviv to Poland. In the car there are dozens of women and children with a horizon as uncertain as their gazes.

Interior of the wagon of a train that departed from Lviv (Ukraine) in the direction of Poland. EFE/EPA/MYKOLA TYS

attacks on innocent lives

Among the harshest and most terrifying images is also this one signed by the photographer Oleksandr Ratushniak because it showed the world, in a shocking way, that in Ukraine the lives of civilians were being directly attacked, that is, against innocent people who believed that it would be respected. the humanitarian corridor opened in Irpin and that they were surprised by a brutal attack by Russian troops. On March 6, entire families ran through the streets of that city to go to the evacuation point where the buses were waiting for them, but at least one of them was hit by mortar shells. Their bodies were lying on the ground next to a suitcase that symbolizes the setback of the war to his hope of survival.

Civilians killed while trying to flee Irpin to be evacuated. EFE/EPA/OLEKSANDR RATUSHNIAK

Fire a deceased on a battlefield

Knowing exactly the fatalities that the war has claimed seems, at the moment, somewhat unlikely. One day before this photograph was taken, on March 2, the Ukrainian State Emergency Service spoke of more than 2,000 dead Ukrainian civilians, which is more than the UN could confirm and less than, surely, have registered to date. In any case, they will be unjust deaths that leave immense pain among those who do preserve their lives and they can’t even offer a dignified farewell. The following image shows two citizens of the small town of Borodianka, near kyiv, carrying a coffin.

Two civilians carry a coffin in the town of Borodianka. EFE/EPA/ALISA YAKUBOVYCH

Mariupol, devastated city

The port city of Mariupol has become, for two weeks, the epicenter of the human drama. She has been surrounded for more than two weeks and, since then, has not stopped suffering harsh attacks that have devastated streets and infrastructure. Meanwhile, some 100,000 civilians remain trapped in inhumane conditions, awaiting an evacuation that has been repeatedly announced but never comes, and trying to survive. no electricity, no water and hardly any food or drugs.

The cry of the woman who appears in this photograph taken on March 17, next to a destroyed residential building, will be the cry of thousands of others who remain hidden in basements or bunkers without knowing how long they will be able to resist.

A woman cries next to a destroyed apartment building in Mariupol. REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko

The courage to say ‘no to war’ in Russia

The Russian government is not Russia and not all citizens of that country support the invasion. In fact, there are many who have expressed their suffering due to the war and who have dared to demonstrate in the streets, despite reprisals. One of the images that has best reflected courage in the face of censorship It was left by a Russian journalist who broke into a public television news program live on March 15 with a banner headed “no to war” that also said: “Let’s stop the war. Don’t believe the propaganda. They are lying to you. Russians against the war.”


Love and resistance in full barbarism

The last photo on the list brings together two symbols that are part of Ukraine’s identity as an invaded country: love (for its loved ones and for the nation) and the iron resistance. In it, two members of the Ukrainian National Guard, Oleksandr and Olena, kiss in front of some barricades and a Ukrainian flag. after being united in marriage. It is dated March 8, 2022 and shows that even the most bleak scenario can suddenly welcome a wisp of humanity.

Two members of the National Guard of Ukraine get married in the middle of the war. REUTERS NATIONAL GUARD OF UKRAINE / REUTERS


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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