robertotravan
SASHA'S DREAM - Kyiv (Ukraine) December 14, 2018
The image of Sasha Plekhanov, student, 22 years old, killed by a sniper on February 18 2014 during the Dignity Revolution. In 2013, thousands of Ukrainians gathered in Kyiv in the central Maidan to protest President Viktor Janukovyc against Ukraine's political and commercial accession to Europe. In the following days, government forces, in an attempt to put an end to the revolt, fired on the crowd killing over one hundred people. The protests - which triggered the Russian occupation of Crimea and the ongoing conflict in the Donbas - forced President Janukovyc to flee to Russia. Along the avenue that runs alongside Maidan, images of all the civilians killed in the clashes are on display today.
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SASHA'S DREAM
Kyiv (Ukraine) December 14, 2018
The image of Sasha Plekhanov, student, 22 years old, killed by a sniper on February 18 2014 during the Dignity Revolution. In 2013, thousands of Ukrainians gathered in Kyiv in the central Maidan to protest President Viktor Janukovyc against Ukraine's political and commercial accession to Europe. In the following days, government forces, in an attempt to put an end to the revolt, fired on the crowd killing over one hundred people. The protests - which triggered the Russian occupation of Crimea and the ongoing conflict in the Donbas - forced President Janukovyc to flee to Russia. Along the avenue that runs alongside Maidan, images of all the civilians killed in the clashes are on display today.
OVER THERE - Volnovakha, Donbas (Ukraine) December 15, 2018
A Ukrainian soldier from the 128 Mechanized Brigade observes the areas occupied by the separatists north of Volnovakha, in the Donbas. On the horizon, the southern front line that reaches Shyrokyne, on the Azov Sea. According to observers of the OSCE SMM international mission, heavy weapons prohibited by the Minsk agreements are often used in combat. This area is considered strategic for the conquest of Mariupol, home of the most important steel plants in the country: the occupation of the town, already invaded by the pro-Russians in 2014 and then freed, would allow separatists to create a corridor to connect Lugansk and Donetsk to Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula which in 2014 declared independence thanks to Russia's political and military support.
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OVER THERE
Volnovakha, Donbas (Ukraine) December 15, 2018
A Ukrainian soldier from the 128 Mechanized Brigade observes the areas occupied by the separatists north of Volnovakha, in the Donbas. On the horizon, the southern front line that reaches Shyrokyne, on the Azov Sea. According to observers of the OSCE SMM international mission, heavy weapons prohibited by the Minsk agreements are often used in combat. This area is considered strategic for the conquest of Mariupol, home of the most important steel plants in the country: the occupation of the town, already invaded by the pro-Russians in 2014 and then freed, would allow separatists to create a corridor to connect Lugansk and Donetsk to Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula which in 2014 declared independence thanks to Russia's political and military support.
INTO THE GHOST TOWN - Avdiivka, Donbas (Ukraine) February 7, 2017

A man on the periphery of Avdiivka between the buildings damaged and abandoned due to fighting. On January 29 2017, the town was attacked by pro-Russian militias with dozens of Grad rockets and tanks prohibited by the Minsk agreements. For nearly two weeks the population, estimated at around 20.000 people, lived without water, electricity and gas due to the extensive damage to the distribution systems caused by the bombing. The hospital had been evacuated and UNICEF had raised the alarm to avoid the humanitarian emergency. The authorities had organized the removal of all the inhabitants, then averted by the withdrawal of the separatists. Avdiivka is a target deemed strategic for the northward expansion of separatist forces since 2014 in Donetsk, about six kilometers from the city: for this reason, the clashes in this area continue to be very intense.
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INTO THE GHOST TOWN
Avdiivka, Donbas (Ukraine) February 7, 2017

A man on the periphery of Avdiivka between the buildings damaged and abandoned due to fighting. On January 29 2017, the town was attacked by pro-Russian militias with dozens of Grad rockets and tanks prohibited by the Minsk agreements. For nearly two weeks the population, estimated at around 20.000 people, lived without water, electricity and gas due to the extensive damage to the distribution systems caused by the bombing. The hospital had been evacuated and UNICEF had raised the alarm to avoid the humanitarian emergency. The authorities had organized the removal of all the inhabitants, then averted by the withdrawal of the separatists. Avdiivka is a target deemed strategic for the northward expansion of separatist forces since 2014 in Donetsk, about six kilometers from the city: for this reason, the clashes in this area continue to be very intense.
WHAT'S LEFT - Avdiivka, Donbas (Ukraine) February 7, 2017 
A building damaged by pro-Russian artillery in Avdiivka. On the outskirts of the city there are dozens of buildings abandoned due to the bombings: they are mainly in the southern neighborhoods directly overlooking the buffer zone. On January 29, 2017 the city was attacked by separatists with dozens of Grad rockets and tanks prohibited by the Minsk agreements. For about two weeks the population, estimated at around 20,000 people, lived without water, electricity and gas due to the extensive damage to the distribution systems caused by the bombing. The hospital had been evacuated and the humanitarian emergency had come close to UNICEF, so much so that the authorities had organized the removal of all the inhabitants, then averted by the withdrawal of the separatists. Avdiivka is a target deemed strategic for the northward expansion of separatist forces since 2014 in Donetsk, about six kilometers from the city: for this reason, the clashes in this area continue to be very intense.
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WHAT'S LEFT
Avdiivka, Donbas (Ukraine) February 7, 2017
A building damaged by pro-Russian artillery in Avdiivka. On the outskirts of the city there are dozens of buildings abandoned due to the bombings: they are mainly in the southern neighborhoods directly overlooking the buffer zone. On January 29, 2017 the city was attacked by separatists with dozens of Grad rockets and tanks prohibited by the Minsk agreements. For about two weeks the population, estimated at around 20,000 people, lived without water, electricity and gas due to the extensive damage to the distribution systems caused by the bombing. The hospital had been evacuated and the humanitarian emergency had come close to UNICEF, so much so that the authorities had organized the removal of all the inhabitants, then averted by the withdrawal of the separatists. Avdiivka is a target deemed strategic for the northward expansion of separatist forces since 2014 in Donetsk, about six kilometers from the city: for this reason, the clashes in this area continue to be very intense.
UNDER SIEGE - Avdiivka, Donbas (Ukraine) February 7, 2017
A house in Avdiivka hit a few hours earlier by a blow from the pro-Russian artillery: inside, some civilians remove the rubble trying to save as much as possible. The apartment, on the outskirts of the city, was made habitable again in the following days: the inhabitants, despite the building being exposed towards the front, decided not to abandon the city. Avdiivka, 6 kilometers from Donetsk, was at the center of violent clashes on 29 January 2017, also fought with tanks and Grad rockets prohibited by the Minsk II agreements. The bombings had knocked out the gas and water pipes, and large areas of the city were also left without electricity. The authorities had prepared the evacuation of the approximately 20,000 inhabitants, while the army had set up shelters and field kitchens to avoid the humanitarian emergency declared by UNICEF. After a month of intense fighting, the siege failed, the pro-Russian forces were backward in their initial positions towards Donetsk. Due to its strategic position, the city continues to be the center of intense fighting.
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UNDER SIEGE
Avdiivka, Donbas (Ukraine) February 7, 2017
A house in Avdiivka hit a few hours earlier by a blow from the pro-Russian artillery: inside, some civilians remove the rubble trying to save as much as possible. The apartment, on the outskirts of the city, was made habitable again in the following days: the inhabitants, despite the building being exposed towards the front, decided not to abandon the city. Avdiivka, 6 kilometers from Donetsk, was at the center of violent clashes on 29 January 2017, also fought with tanks and Grad rockets prohibited by the Minsk II agreements. The bombings had knocked out the gas and water pipes, and large areas of the city were also left without electricity. The authorities had prepared the evacuation of the approximately 20,000 inhabitants, while the army had set up shelters and field kitchens to avoid the humanitarian emergency declared by UNICEF. After a month of intense fighting, the siege failed, the pro-Russian forces were backward in their initial positions towards Donetsk. Due to its strategic position, the city continues to be the center of intense fighting.
THE WAY OF WATER - Opytne, Donbas (Ukraine) February 7, 2017
A woman pulls a tank on a sled with the water taken from the only well still usable in the village. Along the main road of the village, the remains of dozens of houses destroyed and abandoned due to the bombings: many have been mined inside. Eight hundred fifty-five lived in Opytne in 2013: after six years of war the population shrank to about forty people. Living conditions are extremely harsh, because the pro-Russian separatists have irreparably damaged the gas and water pipes as well as the lines that distribute electricity. The enemy positions are less than two kilometers between the remains of Donetsk airport. Residents survive thanks to the aid distributed by volunteers and some humanitarian organizations.
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THE WAY OF WATER
Opytne, Donbas (Ukraine) February 7, 2017
A woman pulls a tank on a sled with the water taken from the only well still usable in the village. Along the main road of the village, the remains of dozens of houses destroyed and abandoned due to the bombings: many have been mined inside. Eight hundred fifty-five lived in Opytne in 2013: after six years of war the population shrank to about forty people. Living conditions are extremely harsh, because the pro-Russian separatists have irreparably damaged the gas and water pipes as well as the lines that distribute electricity. The enemy positions are less than two kilometers between the remains of Donetsk airport. Residents survive thanks to the aid distributed by volunteers and some humanitarian organizations.
"THERE WAS NOTHING DOWN HERE" - Opytne, Donbas (Ukraine) February 8, 2017 
Baba Raja and her husband Vyacheslav in their home in Opytne. The village, in front of the remains of Donetsk airport, is continually hit by pro-Russian artillery whose posts are less than two kilometers away. Eight hundred fifty people lived in Opytne before the war: after six years of war, about forty remain without electricity, gas, water and with temperatures that drop to -20 ° C in winter. Baba Raja and her husband Vyacheslav arrived in Opytne in 1945 "There was nothing down here," recalls the old woman. Today the village is a pile of rubble surrounded by minefields and barbed wire. The man died in November 2018 from natural causes: his body was found after three days.
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"THERE WAS NOTHING DOWN HERE"
Opytne, Donbas (Ukraine) February 8, 2017
Baba Raja and her husband Vyacheslav in their home in Opytne. The village, in front of the remains of Donetsk airport, is continually hit by pro-Russian artillery whose posts are less than two kilometers away. Eight hundred fifty people lived in Opytne before the war: after six years of war, about forty remain without electricity, gas, water and with temperatures that drop to -20 ° C in winter. Baba Raja and her husband Vyacheslav arrived in Opytne in 1945 "There was nothing down here," recalls the old woman. Today the village is a pile of rubble surrounded by minefields and barbed wire. The man died in November 2018 from natural causes: his body was found after three days.
UNTIL THE END - Opytne, Donbas (Ukraine) September 29, 2016
An elderly inhabitant of Opytne among the remains of his home partially destroyed by pro-Russian artillery. The man lives in the only still accessible room heated by a small coal stove. At the beginning of the conflict, eight hundred and fifty people lived in the village, now only about forty remain. Living conditions are extremely difficult, because the lack of gas, water and electricity for plants that are irreparably damaged by the bombings add to the continuous risk of the bombings. Today Opytne is a pile of rubble surrounded by minefields and barbed wire: despite this, the village continues to be affected by pro-Russian militias for its strategic position.
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UNTIL THE END
Opytne, Donbas (Ukraine) September 29, 2016
An elderly inhabitant of Opytne among the remains of his home partially destroyed by pro-Russian artillery. The man lives in the only still accessible room heated by a small coal stove. At the beginning of the conflict, eight hundred and fifty people lived in the village, now only about forty remain. Living conditions are extremely difficult, because the lack of gas, water and electricity for plants that are irreparably damaged by the bombings add to the continuous risk of the bombings. Today Opytne is a pile of rubble surrounded by minefields and barbed wire: despite this, the village continues to be affected by pro-Russian militias for its strategic position.
THE HANDS OF FREEDOM - Kurakhove, Donbas (Ukraine) February 24, 2015
The interior of a school transformed into a military shelter near Kurakhove, about ten kilometers from Donetsk, a city still occupied by pro-Russian separatists. In 2015 this structure hosted the Cossacks of the Sich Battalion who rested here during the fighting breaks. Hanging on a window the Ukrainian flag signed with the handprints of a young schoolchild; around other gifts from schools around the country to encourage frontline soldiers. The support of civilians - who continue to send medicine, clothing and food daily to the front - has allowed the Ukrainian army to fill the scarcity of resources available at the start of the conflict.
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THE HANDS OF FREEDOM
Kurakhove, Donbas (Ukraine) February 24, 2015
The interior of a school transformed into a military shelter near Kurakhove, about ten kilometers from Donetsk, a city still occupied by pro-Russian separatists. In 2015 this structure hosted the Cossacks of the Sich Battalion who rested here during the fighting breaks. Hanging on a window the Ukrainian flag signed with the handprints of a young schoolchild; around other gifts from schools around the country to encourage frontline soldiers. The support of civilians - who continue to send medicine, clothing and food daily to the front - has allowed the Ukrainian army to fill the scarcity of resources available at the start of the conflict.
THE LAST STRONGHOLD - Marinka, Donbas (Ukraine) October 2, 2016
A shooting range in an abandoned school in Marinka, a few kilometers from the southern suburbs of Donetsk. A precision gunmachine was placed on a desk. The building faces directly onto the enemy lines that target the village relentlessly with mortars and snipers who do not hesitate to hit civilians as well. The suburb, considered strategic for the reconquest of the city occupied in 2014 by the pro-Russian forces, continues to be one of the hottest spots on the front, and for this reason it has been almost completely abandoned by the population. Observers of the OSCE SMM mission record dozens of attacks on a daily basis, including with heavy weapons prohibited by the Minsk agreements.
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THE LAST STRONGHOLD
Marinka, Donbas (Ukraine) October 2, 2016
A shooting range in an abandoned school in Marinka, a few kilometers from the southern suburbs of Donetsk. A precision gunmachine was placed on a desk. The building faces directly onto the enemy lines that target the village relentlessly with mortars and snipers who do not hesitate to hit civilians as well. The suburb, considered strategic for the reconquest of the city occupied in 2014 by the pro-Russian forces, continues to be one of the hottest spots on the front, and for this reason it has been almost completely abandoned by the population. Observers of the OSCE SMM mission record dozens of attacks on a daily basis, including with heavy weapons prohibited by the Minsk agreements.
AFTER THE SHELLING - Shakta Budovka, Donbas (Ukraine) February 5, 2017
The inspection of a bunker in Shakta Budovka, the coal mine located between Avdiivka and Donetsk, one of the symbolic places of the Donbas conflict. A Ukrainian soldier appears from an underground shelter after a violent shelling. The living conditions are very harsh, with temperatures that exceed winter - 20 ° C. The positions of the pro-Russian separatists are a few hundred meters away. According to observers of the OSCE SMM mission, heavy armaments prohibited by the Minsk II agreements are often used in the clashes in Shakta Budovka: control of the mine is essential to prevent the occupation of Avdiivka.
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AFTER THE SHELLING
Shakta Budovka, Donbas (Ukraine) February 5, 2017
The inspection of a bunker in Shakta Budovka, the coal mine located between Avdiivka and Donetsk, one of the symbolic places of the Donbas conflict. A Ukrainian soldier appears from an underground shelter after a violent shelling. The living conditions are very harsh, with temperatures that exceed winter - 20 ° C. The positions of the pro-Russian separatists are a few hundred meters away. According to observers of the OSCE SMM mission, heavy armaments prohibited by the Minsk II agreements are often used in the clashes in Shakta Budovka: control of the mine is essential to prevent the occupation of Avdiivka.
THE HIDDEN FAITH - Shakta Budovka, Donbas (Ukraine) February 6, 2017
A Ukrainian soldier is preparing to return to the front line: in changing clothes he discovers a religious symbol tattooed on his back. The man lives in one of the bunkers created in the basement of the Shakta Budovka mine, the buffer zone located between Avdiivka and Donetsk. The living conditions are very harsh, with temperatures exceeding - 20°C during the winter. The positions of the pro-Russian separatists are a few hundred meters away: the artillery fire, even with heavy weapons prohibited by the Minsk agreements, is as constant as the snipers' shooting.
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THE HIDDEN FAITH
Shakta Budovka, Donbas (Ukraine) February 6, 2017
A Ukrainian soldier is preparing to return to the front line: in changing clothes he discovers a religious symbol tattooed on his back. The man lives in one of the bunkers created in the basement of the Shakta Budovka mine, the buffer zone located between Avdiivka and Donetsk. The living conditions are very harsh, with temperatures exceeding - 20°C during the winter. The positions of the pro-Russian separatists are a few hundred meters away: the artillery fire, even with heavy weapons prohibited by the Minsk agreements, is as constant as the snipers' shooting.

THE DARKEST HOUR - Pavlopil, Donbas (Ukraine) December 15, 2018 
A refuge of the 128 Mechanized Brigade near Pavlopil, along the line that connects the south front of Donetsk to the Sea of Azov. The military is preparing for the arrival of yet another night at the front. The bunker is illuminated by lamps connected to the batteries of some trucks, a necessary precaution to avoid the use of generators whose noise could signal the location to the enemy.
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THE DARKEST HOUR
Pavlopil, Donbas (Ukraine) December 15, 2018
A refuge of the 128 Mechanized Brigade near Pavlopil, along the line that connects the south front of Donetsk to the Sea of Azov. The military is preparing for the arrival of yet another night at the front. The bunker is illuminated by lamps connected to the batteries of some trucks, a necessary precaution to avoid the use of generators whose noise could signal the location to the enemy.
EYES WIDE SHOT - Promka, Donbas (Ukraine) February 5, 2017
The tired face of a Ukrainian soldier from the 72nd Mechanized Brigade in an advanced position in Promka, in the former industrial area of Avdiivka. The man has just emerged from an underground refuge after an intense bombing of the separatists. This is a nerve center of the buffer zone around Donetsk, the city occupied by pro-Russian militias in 2014, because some of the most important roads to the occupied areas pass through here. In Promka the fighting takes place between the rubble, from shed to shed: the posts of the government army are a few hundred meters from the enemy ones.
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EYES WIDE SHOT
Promka, Donbas (Ukraine) February 5, 2017
The tired face of a Ukrainian soldier from the 72nd Mechanized Brigade in an advanced position in Promka, in the former industrial area of Avdiivka. The man has just emerged from an underground refuge after an intense bombing of the separatists. This is a nerve center of the buffer zone around Donetsk, the city occupied by pro-Russian militias in 2014, because some of the most important roads to the occupied areas pass through here. In Promka the fighting takes place between the rubble, from shed to shed: the posts of the government army are a few hundred meters from the enemy ones.
DENIS'S POKER - Svetlodarsk, Donbas (Ukraine) February 26, 2015
Denis Kojemyako, volunteer in the Kulchitsky Battalion, shows the aces poker with the faces of the four pro-Russian terrorists most wanted by the Ukrainian authorities. The image was taken in Svetlodarsk in a school transformed into a dormitory for the military on returning from the front. In those days the Ukrainian defeat of Debaltseve had just taken place, the tragic battle in which, according to the Ministry of Defense, 267 Ukrainian soldiers were massacred in the corridor that was supposed to guarantee their evacuation from the city, then occupied by the separatist militias. Denis took his leave in 2016 and now lives and works in Kyiv.
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DENIS'S POKER
Svetlodarsk, Donbas (Ukraine) February 26, 2015
Denis Kojemyako, volunteer in the Kulchitsky Battalion, shows the aces poker with the faces of the four pro-Russian terrorists most wanted by the Ukrainian authorities. The image was taken in Svetlodarsk in a school transformed into a dormitory for the military on returning from the front. In those days the Ukrainian defeat of Debaltseve had just taken place, the tragic battle in which, according to the Ministry of Defense, 267 Ukrainian soldiers were massacred in the corridor that was supposed to guarantee their evacuation from the city, then occupied by the separatist militias. Denis took his leave in 2016 and now lives and works in Kyiv.
"SHOOT ON SIGHT" - Marinka, Donbas (Ukraine) October 1, 2016 
A Ukrainian soldier holds his armed gun at the last checkpoint in Marinka, a suburb of Donetsk, the city occupied by separatists in 2014. On the sign the writing warns: "Do not cross, shoot on sight". Beyond the last checkpoint, no man's land begins, an area in which, despite the fighting, dozens of civilians who have not wanted to leave their homes continue to live. The village is under constant fire from pro-Russian mortars and snipers, who do not hesitate to hit civilians as well. All the roads - with the exception of a humanitarian corridor that allows the passage of civilians between the occupied and government part - have been mined. Due to the frequent fighting in Marinka, about a hundred inhabitants remain, the rest are displaced in the rear. The village is a strategic target, because it is close to the southern districts of Donetsk.
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"SHOOT ON SIGHT"
Marinka, Donbas (Ukraine) October 1, 2016
A Ukrainian soldier holds his armed gun at the last checkpoint in Marinka, a suburb of Donetsk, the city occupied by separatists in 2014. On the sign the writing warns: "Do not cross, shoot on sight". Beyond the last checkpoint, no man's land begins, an area in which, despite the fighting, dozens of civilians who have not wanted to leave their homes continue to live. The village is under constant fire from pro-Russian mortars and snipers, who do not hesitate to hit civilians as well. All the roads - with the exception of a humanitarian corridor that allows the passage of civilians between the occupied and government part - have been mined. Due to the frequent fighting in Marinka, about a hundred inhabitants remain, the rest are displaced in the rear. The village is a strategic target, because it is close to the southern districts of Donetsk.
HERE ENDS EUROPE - Shyrokyne, Donbas (Ukraine) December 16, 2018 
A street in Shyrokyne, the village overlooking the Azov Sea which was occupied by pro-Russian forces in August 2014 and used to attack Mariupol, the Ukrainian port city about 12 kilometers away. From here on 24 January 2015 the massive missile attack was launched which caused over 30 deaths and a hundred wounded. On July 3, 2015, volunteers from the Azov Battalion and the Ukrainian armed forces reconquered Shyrokyne by warding off new bombings on Mariupol. The village today is a pile of rubble surrounded by trenches and barbed wire: all the inhabitants have been displaced in the rear, the remains of the houses have been mined. According to the Ministry of Social Policies, 1,404,926 people left Crimea and the occupied areas of Donbas in the first six years of the war. Unofficial estimates indicate the number of internal refugees in over two million.
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HERE ENDS EUROPE
Shyrokyne, Donbas (Ukraine) December 16, 2018
A street in Shyrokyne, the village overlooking the Azov Sea which was occupied by pro-Russian forces in August 2014 and used to attack Mariupol, the Ukrainian port city about 12 kilometers away. From here on 24 January 2015 the massive missile attack was launched which caused over 30 deaths and a hundred wounded. On July 3, 2015, volunteers from the Azov Battalion and the Ukrainian armed forces reconquered Shyrokyne by warding off new bombings on Mariupol. The village today is a pile of rubble surrounded by trenches and barbed wire: all the inhabitants have been displaced in the rear, the remains of the houses have been mined. According to the Ministry of Social Policies, 1,404,926 people left Crimea and the occupied areas of Donbas in the first six years of the war. Unofficial estimates indicate the number of internal refugees in over two million.
IN THE NAME OF GOD - Promka, Donbas (Ukraine) February 5, 2017
The soldier of the 72nd Mechanized Brigade Sergey Kobchenko photographed in Promka, the industrial area of Avdiivka located a few kilometers from the remains of the Donetsk airport, a city occupied by separatists in 2014. The man was photographed shortly before his return to the premiere. line, not far from the bunker from which he had just come out after a bombing. Beside the dagger and the Kalashnikov, Sergey had slipped a metal crucifix into the bulletproof vest. The buffer-zone of Promka is one of the symbolic places of the Donbas War, a sort of Stalingrad where you fight between the rubble of the factories, from shed to shed. Sergey died two months after this shot, on April 25, 2017, during an attack by pro-Russians. His remains rest in Kaniv, the city where he was born on June 6, 1972.
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IN THE NAME OF GOD
Promka, Donbas (Ukraine) February 5, 2017
The soldier of the 72nd Mechanized Brigade Sergey Kobchenko photographed in Promka, the industrial area of Avdiivka located a few kilometers from the remains of the Donetsk airport, a city occupied by separatists in 2014. The man was photographed shortly before his return to the premiere. line, not far from the bunker from which he had just come out after a bombing. Beside the dagger and the Kalashnikov, Sergey had slipped a metal crucifix into the bulletproof vest. The buffer-zone of Promka is one of the symbolic places of the Donbas War, a sort of Stalingrad where you fight between the rubble of the factories, from shed to shed. Sergey died two months after this shot, on April 25, 2017, during an attack by pro-Russians. His remains rest in Kaniv, the city where he was born on June 6, 1972.
THE FIELDS OF DEATH - Pavlopil, Donbas (Ukraine) December 18, 2018 
A minefield near Pavlopil, along one of the five corridors that allow civilians to pass between the two sides of the front. According to the United Nations (OCHA) Ukraine is one of the most mined countries in the world. For the Ministry of Defense, the mines are scattered in an area of at least 15,000 km2 on both sides of the 500 km long contact line. Since 2018, observers of the OSCE SMM mission have found the presence of at least 10,000 devices, mostly anti-tank. The Ministry of Occupied Territories confirmed that 977 civilians were killed by mines or unexploded ordnance in the first five years of the war, while 1528 were injured. The OSCE estimated that 25 percent of the victims are children.
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THE FIELDS OF DEATH
Pavlopil, Donbas (Ukraine) December 18, 2018
A minefield near Pavlopil, along one of the five corridors that allow civilians to pass between the two sides of the front. According to the United Nations (OCHA) Ukraine is one of the most mined countries in the world. For the Ministry of Defense, the mines are scattered in an area of at least 15,000 km2 on both sides of the 500 km long contact line. Since 2018, observers of the OSCE SMM mission have found the presence of at least 10,000 devices, mostly anti-tank. The Ministry of Occupied Territories confirmed that 977 civilians were killed by mines or unexploded ordnance in the first five years of the war, while 1528 were injured. The OSCE estimated that 25 percent of the victims are children.
 THE PATHS OF YURIK - Avdiivka, Donbas (Ukraine) February 8, 2017
Yurik Grek at the southern entrance to Avdiivka, beyond the last checkpoint that separates the city from the front. Yurik, after having fought for three years as a volunteer, today helps the Ukrainian army by making the “scout”: he knows perfectly the minefields, the roads most exposed to shooting by the pro-Russians, and for this reason his work is fundamental during the deployment battalions. On January 2, 2018 the man was hit by a sniper during a patrol: for a month he fought between life and death, but after a year he returned to the front where he still works now bringing help (medicine, food, clothing) to civilians living in the buffer zone.
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THE PATHS OF YURIK
Avdiivka, Donbas (Ukraine) February 8, 2017
Yurik Grek at the southern entrance to Avdiivka, beyond the last checkpoint that separates the city from the front. Yurik, after having fought for three years as a volunteer, today helps the Ukrainian army by making the “scout”: he knows perfectly the minefields, the roads most exposed to shooting by the pro-Russians, and for this reason his work is fundamental during the deployment battalions. On January 2, 2018 the man was hit by a sniper during a patrol: for a month he fought between life and death, but after a year he returned to the front where he still works now bringing help (medicine, food, clothing) to civilians living in the buffer zone.
NO MAN'S LAND - Debalsteve, Donbas (Ukraine) September 28, 2016
An armored vehicle on the heights overlooking the plain of Debalteve, an area that takes its name from the city occupied on February 18, 2015 by pro-Russian militias. On these hills the Ukrainian army has dug a dense network of entrenchments: control of this area is essential because it is located halfway between Donetsk and Lugansk, the two cities occupied by separatists in 2014. According to the Ministry of Defense, 267 Ukrainian soldiers lost their lives in the battle of Debaltseve, 112 were taken prisoner, while 81 were declared missing. They fell into an ambush along the corridor which, according to the agreements, was supposed to guarantee the safety of the Ukrainian military during the retreat from the city.
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NO MAN'S LAND
Debalsteve, Donbas (Ukraine) September 28, 2016
An armored vehicle on the heights overlooking the plain of Debalteve, an area that takes its name from the city occupied on February 18, 2015 by pro-Russian militias. On these hills the Ukrainian army has dug a dense network of entrenchments: control of this area is essential because it is located halfway between Donetsk and Lugansk, the two cities occupied by separatists in 2014. According to the Ministry of Defense, 267 Ukrainian soldiers lost their lives in the battle of Debaltseve, 112 were taken prisoner, while 81 were declared missing. They fell into an ambush along the corridor which, according to the agreements, was supposed to guarantee the safety of the Ukrainian military during the retreat from the city.
THE ROAD OF AMBUSHES - Yasynuvata, Donbas (Ukraine) October 4, 2016
A patrol of the Ukrainian army covers one stretch most exposed to enemy fire in the buffer zone of Yasynuvata: the separatist posts are less than a kilometer away. Since mid-April 2014, pro-Russian militias have conquered several population centers in the districts of Donetsk and Lugansk, including Yasynuvata. Some suburbs of the city, currently occupied by separatists, have been trapped in the contact area, a sort of no man's land inhabited by hundreds of people. The patrols in this area - necessary to ensure security and distribute aid to the inhabitants - are extremely dangerous due to the high risk of ambushes or sudden gunfights.
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THE ROAD OF AMBUSHES
Yasynuvata, Donbas (Ukraine) October 4, 2016
A patrol of the Ukrainian army covers one stretch most exposed to enemy fire in the buffer zone of Yasynuvata: the separatist posts are less than a kilometer away. Since mid-April 2014, pro-Russian militias have conquered several population centers in the districts of Donetsk and Lugansk, including Yasynuvata. Some suburbs of the city, currently occupied by separatists, have been trapped in the contact area, a sort of no man's land inhabited by hundreds of people. The patrols in this area - necessary to ensure security and distribute aid to the inhabitants - are extremely dangerous due to the high risk of ambushes or sudden gunfights.
THE BRIDE TO THE FRONT - Volnovakha, Donbas (Ukraine) December 21, 2018 
A Ukrainian military awaits the return to the front of Juliya Shaykovich. The woman the day before she married Anton Kinshin: both are part of the 15th Assault Battalion of the 128 Carpathian Brigade, a military formation in which they met two years ago. On December 20, 2018 Anton and Juliya obtained a two-day license and got married in Mariupol, about twenty kilometers from the front, on the Azov Sea. The following day the couple returned to the fighting areas, north of Volnovakha: both continue to fight in the Donbas, side by side.
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THE BRIDE TO THE FRONT
Volnovakha, Donbas (Ukraine) December 21, 2018
A Ukrainian military awaits the return to the front of Juliya Shaykovich. The woman the day before she married Anton Kinshin: both are part of the 15th Assault Battalion of the 128 Carpathian Brigade, a military formation in which they met two years ago. On December 20, 2018 Anton and Juliya obtained a two-day license and got married in Mariupol, about twenty kilometers from the front, on the Azov Sea. The following day the couple returned to the fighting areas, north of Volnovakha: both continue to fight in the Donbas, side by side.
READY TO GO - Volnovakha, Donbas (Ukraine) December 15, 2018
A soldier from the 128 Mechanized Brigade prepares a tank positioned approximately 15 kilometers from the contact line, the distance established by the Minsk agreements. In the shed, dozens of Ukrainian armored vehicles are ready to go out at any time to counter the advance of the pro-Russian militias on the plains of the southern front. Observers from the OSCE SMM international mission continue to report the systematic violation of the Minsk agreements, in particular by separatist forces using banned weapons provided by Russia, including tanks and grad rocket batteries.
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READY TO GO
Volnovakha, Donbas (Ukraine) December 15, 2018
A soldier from the 128 Mechanized Brigade prepares a tank positioned approximately 15 kilometers from the contact line, the distance established by the Minsk agreements. In the shed, dozens of Ukrainian armored vehicles are ready to go out at any time to counter the advance of the pro-Russian militias on the plains of the southern front. Observers from the OSCE SMM international mission continue to report the systematic violation of the Minsk agreements, in particular by separatist forces using banned weapons provided by Russia, including tanks and grad rocket batteries.
THE OLEKSANDR HILL - Debaltseve, Donbas (Ukraine) September 28, 2016
Oleksandr Zguyevych, volunteer of the 11th Kyivska Rus Battalion, photographed in the muddy entrenchments overlooking the Debaltseve plain, occupied on February 28, 2015 by pro-Russian militias. In this area, the Ukrainians have dug a dense defensive network: the control of these hills is strategic because they are halfway between Donetsk and Lugansk, the two cities invaded by separatists in 2014. Oleksandr died in combat on August 15, 2017 in Shyrokyne, on the southern front of the Donbas, about twenty kilometers from Mariupol, a strategic city for the advancement of pro-Russian militias towards Crimea.
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THE OLEKSANDR HILL
Debaltseve, Donbas (Ukraine) September 28, 2016
Oleksandr Zguyevych, volunteer of the 11th Kyivska Rus Battalion, photographed in the muddy entrenchments overlooking the Debaltseve plain, occupied on February 28, 2015 by pro-Russian militias. In this area, the Ukrainians have dug a dense defensive network: the control of these hills is strategic because they are halfway between Donetsk and Lugansk, the two cities invaded by separatists in 2014. Oleksandr died in combat on August 15, 2017 in Shyrokyne, on the southern front of the Donbas, about twenty kilometers from Mariupol, a strategic city for the advancement of pro-Russian militias towards Crimea.
FIRE AT ZENITH POINT - Zenith Point, Donbas (Ukraine) February 8, 2017
His nickname is "Prizrak", "Ghost", and he is a Ukrainian volunteer from the 72nd Brigade. "Prizrak" in 2017 was at the Zenith outpost, about two kilometers from Donetsk, when it responded to the fire that suddenly started from enemy positions. This place is one of the key points of the buffer zone around the city occupied in 2014 by the pro-Russian separatists: here the Ukrainian army is retreated after losing control of Donetsk airport, abandoned to avoid encirclement and elimination of all his men.
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FIRE AT ZENITH POINT
Zenith Point, Donbas (Ukraine) February 8, 2017
His nickname is "Prizrak", "Ghost", and he is a Ukrainian volunteer from the 72nd Brigade. "Prizrak" in 2017 was at the Zenith outpost, about two kilometers from Donetsk, when it responded to the fire that suddenly started from enemy positions. This place is one of the key points of the buffer zone around the city occupied in 2014 by the pro-Russian separatists: here the Ukrainian army is retreated after losing control of Donetsk airport, abandoned to avoid encirclement and elimination of all his men.
THE LAST WALKING - Myrhorod (Ukraine) October 18, 2019
The funeral of Yaroslava Nykonenko, the Ukrainian soldier killed on 15 October 2019 by a pro-Russian sniper. At the head of the procession, Sister Bogdana with the portrait of Yaroslava runs through the streets of Myrhorod, the town where the family lives. In the Donbas conflict four years ago the soldier's father Sergei Nykonenko, a volunteer in the 24th Aidar Battalion, was killed in a bombing raid. According to the United Nations, over 13,000 people died in the Donbas conflict in six years, including 4100 Ukrainian soldiers, 5650 separatist fighters and 3345 civilians.
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THE LAST WALKING
Myrhorod (Ukraine) October 18, 2019
The funeral of Yaroslava Nykonenko, the Ukrainian soldier killed on 15 October 2019 by a pro-Russian sniper. At the head of the procession, Sister Bogdana with the portrait of Yaroslava runs through the streets of Myrhorod, the town where the family lives. In the Donbas conflict four years ago the soldier's father Sergei Nykonenko, a volunteer in the 24th Aidar Battalion, was killed in a bombing raid. According to the United Nations, over 13,000 people died in the Donbas conflict in six years, including 4100 Ukrainian soldiers, 5650 separatist fighters and 3345 civilians.
THE LADY WITH RED NAILS - Myrhorod (Ukraine) October 18, 2019
The pain of the mother of Yaroslava Nykonenko, the Ukrainian soldier of the 101 Brigade killed by a pro-Russian sniper on October 15, 2019: her body is in the burning room set up in the house where she was born thirty-six years ago, in Myrhorod. The woman had enlisted after losing her father, a volunteer in the 24th Aidar Battalion, during a bombing that occurred on 18 January 2015 in the surroundings of Lugansk. Yaroslava has left a thirteen-year-old daughter. According to the United Nations, 4500 Ukrainian soldiers, 5650 separatist fighters and 3345 civilians died in the Donbas conflict in six years.
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THE LADY WITH RED NAILS
Myrhorod (Ukraine) October 18, 2019
The pain of the mother of Yaroslava Nykonenko, the Ukrainian soldier of the 101 Brigade killed by a pro-Russian sniper on October 15, 2019: her body is in the burning room set up in the house where she was born thirty-six years ago, in Myrhorod. The woman had enlisted after losing her father, a volunteer in the 24th Aidar Battalion, during a bombing that occurred on 18 January 2015 in the surroundings of Lugansk. Yaroslava has left a thirteen-year-old daughter. According to the United Nations, 4500 Ukrainian soldiers, 5650 separatist fighters and 3345 civilians died in the Donbas conflict in six years.
"THE SPANIARD" - Kyiv (Ukraine) October 8, 2016
Roman Maksimets' severely mutilated body in Kyiv Military Hospital. Roman lived in Spain at the start of the conflict. In 2016 he returned to Ukraine to avert the enrollment of his younger brother. "The Spaniard", this is his nickname in the Donbas Battalion, was sent to Marinka, a suburb of Donetsk, the city occupied by the pro-Russian separatists in 2014. In the explosion of a mine Roman lost his legs, an arm, his sight in one eye, partly hearing and three companions who were with him on patrol. Now he lives with his mother in Lviv, his city. According to the United Nations (UNHCR), more than 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been injured in the Donbass conflict, 4500 have died. The UN agency also estimated the victims among the pro-Russian separatists: 5650 those dead, over 13,000 wounded. In Ukraine, state medical assistance is not always able to ensure adequate care for veterans, who often can only count on the help of family members or some voluntary associations.
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"THE SPANIARD"
Kyiv (Ukraine) October 8, 2016
Roman Maksimets' severely mutilated body in Kyiv Military Hospital. Roman lived in Spain at the start of the conflict. In 2016 he returned to Ukraine to avert the enrollment of his younger brother. "The Spaniard", this is his nickname in the Donbas Battalion, was sent to Marinka, a suburb of Donetsk, the city occupied by the pro-Russian separatists in 2014. In the explosion of a mine Roman lost his legs, an arm, his sight in one eye, partly hearing and three companions who were with him on patrol. Now he lives with his mother in Lviv, his city. According to the United Nations (UNHCR), more than 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been injured in the Donbass conflict, 4500 have died. The UN agency also estimated the victims among the pro-Russian separatists: 5650 those dead, over 13,000 wounded. In Ukraine, state medical assistance is not always able to ensure adequate care for veterans, who often can only count on the help of family members or some voluntary associations.
SURVIVED - Kyiv (Ukraine) October 8, 2016
The horrible scars on the leg of a soldier hospitalized in the Kyiv military hospital: the man was seriously injured by the explosion of a mine placed by the separatists. According to the United Nations (UNHCR), more than 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been injured in the Donbass conflict, 4500 have died. The UN agency also estimated the victims among the pro-Russian separatists: 5650 those dead, over 13,000 wounded. In Ukraine, state medical assistance is not always able to ensure adequate care for veterans, who often can only count on the help of family members or some voluntary associations.
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SURVIVED
Kyiv (Ukraine) October 8, 2016
The horrible scars on the leg of a soldier hospitalized in the Kyiv military hospital: the man was seriously injured by the explosion of a mine placed by the separatists. According to the United Nations (UNHCR), more than 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been injured in the Donbass conflict, 4500 have died. The UN agency also estimated the victims among the pro-Russian separatists: 5650 those dead, over 13,000 wounded. In Ukraine, state medical assistance is not always able to ensure adequate care for veterans, who often can only count on the help of family members or some voluntary associations.
SCARS IN THE SOUL - Pushcha Voditsa, Kyiv (Ukraine) October 17, 2019
Denis, a retired soldier of the Ukrainian army, in the room where he is hospitalized in Forest Glade, a few kilometers from Kyiv. On the bedside table and on the crumpled chair the medicines to cure the serious psychological depression caused by the fighting in the Donbas. Forest Glade hospital was built in Soviet times to assist veterans of the war in Afghanistan. Donbas veterans are also currently being treated. Many of them, including Denis, are suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, the leading cause of suicide among fighters. According to military prosecutor Anatoly Matios, in the first four years of the conflict, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense recorded 554 suicides among the Donbas veterans. Unofficial estimates say that in reality there would be more than 200 veterans who kill themselves every year due to the psychological stress caused by the fighting.
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SCARS IN THE SOUL
Pushcha Voditsa, Kyiv (Ukraine) October 17, 2019
Denis, a retired soldier of the Ukrainian army, in the room where he is hospitalized in Forest Glade, a few kilometers from Kyiv. On the bedside table and on the crumpled chair the medicines to cure the serious psychological depression caused by the fighting in the Donbas. Forest Glade hospital was built in Soviet times to assist veterans of the war in Afghanistan. Donbas veterans are also currently being treated. Many of them, including Denis, are suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, the leading cause of suicide among fighters. According to military prosecutor Anatoly Matios, in the first four years of the conflict, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense recorded 554 suicides among the Donbas veterans. Unofficial estimates say that in reality there would be more than 200 veterans who kill themselves every year due to the psychological stress caused by the fighting.
PATRIOTS - Kyiv (Ukraine) October 14, 2019
Defender of the Fatherland Day is celebrated every year in Ukraine on 14 October. In 2019 thousands of people paraded in all Ukrainian cities thanking the soldiers engaged in Donbas. In Kiyv over fifteen thousand people gathered in Maidan, the square where the Revolution of Dignity began in 2013. Civilians, military and veterans marched, also chanting slogans against Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, accused of wanting to concede free elections in the occupied territories in the near future, a choice that in fact could sanction their definitive detachment from Ukraine, as already happened in Crimea.
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PATRIOTS
Kyiv (Ukraine) October 14, 2019
Defender of the Fatherland Day is celebrated every year in Ukraine on 14 October. In 2019 thousands of people paraded in all Ukrainian cities thanking the soldiers engaged in Donbas. In Kiyv over fifteen thousand people gathered in Maidan, the square where the Revolution of Dignity began in 2013. Civilians, military and veterans marched, also chanting slogans against Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, accused of wanting to concede free elections in the occupied territories in the near future, a choice that in fact could sanction their definitive detachment from Ukraine, as already happened in Crimea.
LITTLE SOLDIERS - Kyiv (Ukraine) October 11, 2019
Young cadets of the Military College No. 23 receive the insignia after taking an oath under the monument to Vladimir the Great, patron saint of Ukraine. The Institute is located in Kiev and hosts nearly seven hundred students divided into twenty-six classes, including seven female. The last two years of cultural preparation has been flanked by the military preparation required to begin service in the army.
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LITTLE SOLDIERS
Kyiv (Ukraine) October 11, 2019
Young cadets of the Military College No. 23 receive the insignia after taking an oath under the monument to Vladimir the Great, patron saint of Ukraine. The Institute is located in Kiev and hosts nearly seven hundred students divided into twenty-six classes, including seven female. The last two years of cultural preparation has been flanked by the military preparation required to begin service in the army.

The forgotten war of the Donbas

A forgotten war is being fought in Europe since 2014. A conflict that has already caused over thirteen thousand deaths, thousands of injured and over two million displaced. It is the war of the Donbas, an eastern region of Ukraine, in which the pro-Russian separatists occupied the cities of Lugansk and Donetsk after Crimea, proclaiming their independence. Despite the peace agreements in Minsk and economic sanctions on Russia accused of militarily supporting the separatists, the clashes continue with a slow and relentless dripping of victims and destruction. This work, which began in 2015, has continued year after year in an attempt to narrate the Donbas war through the daily life of civilians and military personnel living in combat areas. For weeks I lived in the trenches alongside the Ukrainian military. I lived with them the tension of the shellings, the bitter cold of winter, the suffocating heat of summer. I shared with them the tiredness, but also the moments of lightheartedness during the pauses of the fighting, perhaps having a hot meal or playing cards in the darkness of the shelters in the middle of the rubble. I found some of them in hospitals deeply wounded in the body or mind, others followed the last farewell to the funeral. I have been in the homes where hundreds of Ukrainians survive without electricity, water, gas to warm up: houses gutted by shelling, surrounded by minefields and barbed wire, which many have not wanted to abandon. This long-term project is the attempt to try to tell what remains of life at its terminus: the war. None of my pictures is posed or influenced.
Link
https://www.robertotravan.it/the_forgotten_war_of_the_donbas-p20690

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