Born in Nevinnomyssk, Valery Melnikov studied journalism in Stavropol, Russia. His photographic career began when he started to work for The North Caucasus newspaper. For ten years he was a staff photographer for Kommersant publishing house and...
The boy in the basement of the destroyed school in village of Shahty 6/7, Donetsk region, Ukraine
Despite the ongoing cease-fire regime, both sides blame each other for breaking it.
Every night thousands of people living at the front line in Donbass go underground to survive until morning.
I arrived to the Ukrainian city of Luhansk in the early summer of 2014 and then it was still a peaceful town, but the feeling of an impending disaster was already in the air and and every following day it was getting stronger. The conflict between the separatists and the official Ukrainian authorities was gradually escalating into war. Full-scale hostilities were undertaken in the south-east of Ukraine. That summer became the bloodiest time for the strategically important Luhansk. The locals had to survive with no water and electricity under daily shelling. And each new day could become their last. In any war there are always at least two armed fighting sides. For me as a journalist and a human being, in that case the most important side was the third – that of the ordinary people, civilians, innocent victims of these conflicts. They never expected the disaster to enter their lives. The locals turned into military confrontation participants against their will. They experienced the most terrible things: their friends and relatives’ deaths, destroyed houses and ruined lives of thousands.