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Wartime Accounts
Written through the lens of Ukrainian photographers 

Updated on September 9, 2022

On the morning of 24th February 2022, people in Ukraine woke up to airstrikes as Russia launched a full-scale invasion of their country. Martial law was declared by the Ukrainian president, urging all residents who wished to defend the nation to come forward, while enabling children, the elderly and others in vulnerable situations to flee to safety. Ukrainians demonstrated their resilience amidst the inhumane chaos of the war, and the local photographers took on the responsibility of becoming war photojournalists right away and have been documenting the unfolding events since the beginning of the invasion of their country.


The wartime accounts, written through the lens of Ukrainian photographers, portray the experiences of the people during the war. They depict events from the early days of the invasion when people were confined to their homes or relocated to underground shelters, to how they volunteered in various capacities to support their defence forces; the goodbyes and promises they made to their families and how they saved their pets while fleeing to safety; from the firefighters who worked tirelessly 24 hours a day for months, to how the civilians protected their cultural heritage; from the war-torn streets to the altered landscape of the country and many other heart-wrenching realities.

Although wartime imagery shows despair and destruction, it also brings people together in their pursuit of harmony. We acknowledge the remarkable work of courageous Ukrainian photographers.

Contributing artists: Alina Smutko, Serhii Mykhalchuk, Kateryna Moskalyuk, Sergiy Illyashenko, Elizabeth Servatynska, Viacheslav Ratynski, Yana Sidash, Pietro Chekal, George Ivanchenko and Igor Gorbunov

Ukraine War - Train.jpg

Kharkiv, Ukraine   |   By Pietro Chekal

Leaving the homeland

Since Russia's invasion began, more than one-third of Ukraine's population has been displaced, either internally or because people had to flee to neighbouring countries. That accounts for the displacement of more than 15 million people, with over 8 million internally displaced and about 7 million seeking refuge in other countries.

Photographed on March 2, 2022

Ukraine War - Train.jpg

Kyiv, Ukraine   |   By Alina Smutko

Goodbyes and Promises

More than a million families disintegrated due to the war.

Photographed on March 7, 2022

Ukraine War - Evacuation.jpg

Irpin, Ukraine   |   By Serhii Mykhalchuk


Evacuation through humanitarian corridors hadn't been as simple as it sounds. People had to make multiple attempts to move out to safer locations. Without civil defence support, safe evacuation wouldn't have been possible through any humanitarian corridor. 

Photographed on March 5, 2022

Ukraine War - Pets.jpg

Irpin, Ukraine   |   By Alina Smutko

A true testament to the humanity of Ukrainians, amidst the inhumane chaos of the war

The people of Ukraine did not leave their pets behind as they evaded the attacks.

Photographed on March 9, 2022

Ukraine War.jpg

Lviv, Ukraine   |   By Kateryna Moskalyuk


People sought refuge in basements, metro stations and underground shelters while gunfire, airstrikes, and war raged above ground. In the photo, the children, their parents and the staff of the Children's Medical Centre moved to the basement, after hearing the air-raid sirens.

Photographed on March 29, 2022

Ukraine War - Damages - Mriya.jpg

Hostomel, Kyiv Region, Ukraine   |   By Serhii Mykhalchuk


The Antonov 225 plane (Mriya), the world's biggest aircraft, was destroyed when the hanger it was in was ravaged by Russian forces.

Photographed on April 3, 2022

Ukraine War.jpg

Kyiv, Ukraine   |   By Serhii Mykhalchuk

War-torn streets of Ukraine

Day by day, as the Russian invasion advanced, towns fell into ruin.

Photographed on March 18, 2022

Ukraine War - Firefighters.jpg

Kyiv, Ukraine   |   By Alina Smutko

Firefighters of Ukraine

Firefighters of Ukraine worked tirelessly 24x7 for months.

Photographed on March 15, 2022

Ukraine War.jpg

Kyiv, Ukraine   |   By Serhii Mykhalchuk

Goodbye Blue Sky

For months, the skies over Ukraine were blanketed with noxious smoke.

Photographed on March 4, 2022

Ukraine War.jpg

Zhytomyr, Ukraine   |   By Viacheslav Ratynskyi

The undying spirit of Ukrainians

Ukrainians fought for their survival and volunteered to defend their country in any manner they could. In the photo, people are getting trained on how to fire Molotov cocktails at Russian tanks.

Photographed on March 1, 2022

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