Aris Messinis traveled to Ukraine ten days before the Russian invasion which unleashed the most serious conflict in Europe since 1945.
He already knew the country because he covered the pro-European demonstrations in Maidan Square in February 2014, an event that culminated in the annexation of Crimea to Russia and which triggered the conflict in Donbas with two opposing factions as protagonists: the separatists supported by Moscow and the Kyiv authorities.
In 2022 the photographer went to the country twice for a total of 70 days spent in the field. He is one of the key witnesses of this conflict. At first, he spent time in the suburbs of Irpin and Bucha, north of Kyiv, that have become a symbol of a resistance that has taken the Russian army by surprise, and then towards the Donbas frontline in the areas controlled by Ukrainian troops.
In contact with the army and the most exposed people, it offers us a poignant testimony of the bombings, the exodus of desperate civilians or exhausted soldiers. Through multiple scenes of desolation, his work shows the devastating human cost of a war that has already caused thousands of deaths and whose end no one dares to predict.
Photos by © Aris Messinis / AFP.