Reportage of the Donbass region in east Ukraine. Despite the ceasefire, the tension between the Ukrainian government and the separatist forces supported by the Russian Federation remains high. Peripheral areas and nearby villages are subject to constant bombing.Two years have elapsed, and while Ukrainian refugees in Donbass continue to be housed in temporary facilities, children have become familiar with the sound of artillery.
The project was done in three phases. I started with the first part in the autumn of 2014, when the separatist forces took control of Donetsk’s airport. The second in the winter of 2015, following the current ceasefire subsequent to the occupation of Debaltsavo by the separatists, an important strategic point for the territoy. The third during summer 2016, focusing on the refugees that after two years of war, most of the people who lived in the areas around Yasinovataya, Pinsky and Spartak, cannot return to their homes or are trapped in the grey zones between the two frontlines. I've been especially in the area of the new Republic of Donetsk, where the conflict is still going on close to the city centre. All pictures are taken in: Donetsk area in particulary the area of the airport and Spartak, Torez city covering the illegal coal mines that are still working on, Debaltsavo after the occupation of the separatist volunteers.
Since the beginning of the conflict,at least 22,212 people have been wounded, and 9,569 have been killed. More than 2,000of the fatalities were civilians (OCHA Umanitarian bullettin). The elections in Donetsk and Luhansk of november 2014 have further hampered dialogue between the separatist and the rest of the world.
Despite negotiations and the Minsk Protocol, the region of Donbass is still torn by a somber war that holds thousands of families hostage in the city of Donetsk.The DNR government endorsed by Russia brought back relative peace. Notwithstanding, martial law is still in force today with a strict 11 pm curfew. Peripheral areas and nearby villages are subject to constant bombing.Two years have elapsed, and while Ukrainian refugees in Donbass continue to be housed in temporary facilities, children have become familiar with the sound of artillery. Without an international resolution, Donbass is doomed to war.
I covered a war that, were the ceasefire which was agreed a year ago actually applied, would not be taking place. In Horlovka, Petrov’kiy, Spartak, Andjievka and Yasinovataya, the most afflicted areas, civilians risk being bombarded nightly. Nevertheless, they strive to return to normality.
The aim of the reportage is to illustrate the situation as it appears in the occupied territory beyond the last Ukrainian controlled checkpoints: volunteer separatists who actively defend a devastated wasted land in which a fragile ceasefire is not upheld and the drudgery of the miners, who are the symbol and pride of the region. The economic isolation of Donbass further worsens the living conditions of the population. The governments of the self-proclaimed Republics of Luhansk and Donetsk fail to meet demands of salaries and pensions which remain unpaid for months.
This conflict, first considered as a crisis and late ras un uprising, it now appears as the first European Civil War of the century.