World Press Photo 2022

Europe Long-term Projects

Photographed over the period 2013 to 2021, this project looks at the longer-term context leading to the 2022 war in Ukraine. Tensions between the east and west of Ukraine were exacerbated in 2014 when Kremlin-backed forces occupied the Crimean peninsula and separatists in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk established self-proclaimed People’s Republics, a status not officially recognised by most of the international community. 

Tensions continued and, in February 2021, Russia began building up military forces on Ukraine’s borders. In December, Russian President Vladimir Putin laid out a set of security demands, including that Ukraine be permanently barred from joining Nato, and the already volatile situation intensified. On Feb 21, 2022, President Putin formally recognised the independence of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) and the Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR). Three days later, Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

A decapitated statue of Lenin standing in Cheminots Park, Kotovsk, Ukraine, on Dec 19, 2013. The statue was destroyed by ultra-nationalists on the night of Dec 8 and 9. Title: Ukraine Crisis © Guillaume Herbaut, Agence VU’
Anti-riot forces forming a barrier on Hrushevskoho street, Kyiv, Ukraine, on Jan 22, 2014. Violent confrontations had taken place between anti-riot units and pro-European Union protesters since the previous day, leaving at least four people dead and hundreds wounded. Title: Ukraine Crisis © Guillaume Herbaut, Agence VU’
Women making camouflage gear for snipers at the Novy Mariupol Centre, an organisation that collects equipment for Ukrainian soldiers, in Mariupol, Ukraine, on Sept 26, 2014. Title: Ukraine Crisis © Guillaume Herbaut, Agence VU’
Fortification bollards lying across a street in Shyrokyne, Donetsk, Ukraine, on Nov 29, 2021. Once a popular resort on the Sea of Azov, Shyrokyne became a battleground in the 2014 to 2015 conflict between separatists and Ukrainian forces. Title: Ukraine Crisis © Guillaume Herbaut, Agence VU’

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