Larry Towell: The Russian Front, East Ukraine

Larry Towell: The Russian Front, East Ukraine
International Photography Grant 2019

After the February 2014 Euromaidan uprising, which brought an end to the Viktor Yanukovych government, Russian President Vladimir Putin annexed the Crimea with the support of locals who felt isolated from the new government in Kiev. The Ukraine army and related militias entered Eastern Ukraine where separatist movements, supported by Russia, were taking root. The summer brought an all out war between separatists and the central government with 50% of civilians fleeing their homes in many areas. By August, the Ukrainian Army was forced out of the main cities. Ceasefires failed and shelling between factions continued with 4,700 persons killed by the end of the year. The conflict has provoked the worst crisis in relations between Russia and the West since the Cold War.

UKRAINE. Khartcizsk, East Ukraine. November 28, 2014. Grave diggers at cemetery north east of Donetsk.

Larry Towell: The Russian Front, East Ukraine – UKRAINE. Khartcizsk, East Ukraine. November 28, 2014. Grave diggers at cemetery north east of Donetsk.

UKRAINE. Hrashevatoe, East Ukraine. November 28, 2014. A destroyed Ukranian tank near the airport where the Ukranian Army had stayed during the summer siege.

Larry Towell: The Russian Front, East Ukraine – UKRAINE. Hrashevatoe, East Ukraine. November 28, 2014. A destroyed Ukranian tank near the airport where the Ukranian Army had stayed during the summer siege.

UKRAINE. Luhansk, East Ukraine. November 28, 2014. Ruins. The Luhansk airport was completely destroyed during fighting between the Ukranian Army, who was occupying it at the time, and Russian-backed separatists.

Larry Towell: The Russian Front, East Ukraine – UKRAINE. Luhansk, East Ukraine. November 28, 2014. Ruins. The Luhansk airport was completely destroyed during fighting between the Ukranian Army, who was occupying it at the time, and Russian-backed separatists.

UKRAINE. Luhansk, East Ukraine. November 28, 2014. A destroyed Ukranian tank and airport where the Ukranian Army had stayed during the summer siege.

Larry Towell: The Russian Front, East Ukraine – UKRAINE. Luhansk, East Ukraine. November 28, 2014. A destroyed Ukranian tank and airport where the Ukranian Army had stayed during the summer siege.

UKRAINE. Luhansk, East Ukraine. November 30, 2014. In spite of the central government cutting bank transfers, social services, government pensions and wages to a city of erratic electricity and running water, civilians living in the separatist region purchase amenities in heavy pre-Christmas snowfall.

Larry Towell: The Russian Front, East Ukraine – UKRAINE. Luhansk, East Ukraine. November 30, 2014. In spite of the central government cutting bank transfers, social services, government pensions and wages to a city of erratic electricity and running water, civilians living in the separatist region purchase amenities in heavy pre-Christmas snowfall.

UKRAINE. Donetsk, East Ukraine. November 23, 2014. Pro-Russian separatists using bomb shelter as living quarters in Petrovskyi neighbourhood.

Larry Towell: The Russian Front, East Ukraine – UKRAINE. Donetsk, East Ukraine. November 23, 2014. Pro-Russian separatists using bomb shelter as living quarters in Petrovskyi neighbourhood.

UKRAINE. Donetsk, East Ukraine. November 23, 2014. Pro-Russian separatists using bomb shelter as living quarters in Petrovskyi neighbourhood.

Larry Towell: The Russian Front, East Ukraine – UKRAINE. Donetsk, East Ukraine. November 23, 2014. Pro-Russian separatists using bomb shelter as living quarters in Petrovskyi neighbourhood.

UKRAINE. Donetsk. November 24, 2014. Pro-Russian separatists of the DNR (Donetsk National Republic) using bomb shelter as living quarters in the Petrovskyi neighbourhood.

Larry Towell: The Russian Front, East Ukraine – UKRAINE. Donetsk. November 24, 2014. Pro-Russian separatists of the DNR (Donetsk National Republic) using bomb shelter as living quarters in the Petrovskyi neighbourhood.

UKRAINE. Donetsk, East Ukraine. December 3, 2014. A Muslim fighter from Dagastan (rear) who came to help the Ukranian Christian separatists, seen at a separatist shooting range in the Petrovskyi neighbourhood.

Larry Towell: The Russian Front, East Ukraine – UKRAINE. Donetsk, East Ukraine. December 3, 2014. A Muslim fighter from Dagastan (rear) who came to help the Ukranian Christian separatists, seen at a separatist shooting range in the Petrovskyi neighbourhood.

UKRAINE. Donetsk, East Ukraine. December 3, 2014. A Muslim fighter from Dagastan who came to help the Ukranian Christian separatists walks through a coal mine in the Petrovskyi neighbourhood.

Larry Towell: The Russian Front, East Ukraine – UKRAINE. Donetsk, East Ukraine. December 3, 2014. A Muslim fighter from Dagastan who came to help the Ukranian Christian separatists walks through a coal mine in the Petrovskyi neighbourhood.

UKRAINE. Petrovskyi neighborhood, Donetsk, East Ukraine. November 20, 2014. Family photo album of Yesatarina and Vasily Stewlmakh in the basement of bomb shelter Hospital #18. They lost their home to shelling by the Ukrainian army.

Larry Towell: The Russian Front, East Ukraine – UKRAINE. Petrovskyi neighborhood, Donetsk, East Ukraine. November 20, 2014. Family photo album of Yesatarina and Vasily Stewlmakh in the basement of bomb shelter Hospital #18. They lost their home to shelling by the Ukrainian army.

UKRAINE. Shahanov, East Ukraine. November 30, 2014. Cossack separatists at the front line in military training, target practice in the cola mine yard that was abandoned due to shelling by Ukrainian Army.

Larry Towell: The Russian Front, East Ukraine – UKRAINE. Shahanov, East Ukraine. November 30, 2014. Cossack separatists at the front line in military training, target practice in the cola mine yard that was abandoned due to shelling by Ukrainian Army.

UKRAINE. Shahanov, East Ukraine. November 30, 2014. A young Cossack soldier greets 86-year old Cossack woman whose home had recently been destroyed by Ukrainian Army shelling in the separatist stronghold.

Larry Towell: The Russian Front, East Ukraine – UKRAINE. Shahanov, East Ukraine. November 30, 2014. A young Cossack soldier greets 86-year old Cossack woman whose home had recently been destroyed by Ukrainian Army shelling in the separatist stronghold.

UKRAINE. Shahanov, East Ukraine. November 30, 2014. Cossack separatists at the front line with German shepherd patrol dog.

Larry Towell: The Russian Front, East Ukraine – UKRAINE. Shahanov, East Ukraine. November 30, 2014. Cossack separatists at the front line with German shepherd patrol dog.

UKRAINE. Ilovaisk, East Ukraine. November 25, 2014. A welder repairs freight trains damaged by separatist shelling of a train yard when it was occupied by the Ukrainian army, in what is now a separatist strong hold.

Larry Towell: The Russian Front, East Ukraine – UKRAINE. Ilovaisk, East Ukraine. November 25, 2014. A welder repairs freight trains damaged by separatist shelling of a train yard when it was occupied by the Ukrainian army, in what is now a separatist strong hold.

UKRAINE. Staromykhailivka, East Ukraine. December 3, 2014. Separatist inside house of a coal miner damaged by shelling from the Ukrainian army, which continues to fire mortars and incendiary rockets at areas controlled by Russian-backed separatists often hitting civilian neighborhoods.

Larry Towell: The Russian Front, East Ukraine – UKRAINE. Staromykhailivka, East Ukraine. December 3, 2014. Separatist inside house of a coal miner damaged by shelling from the Ukrainian army, which continues to fire mortars and incendiary rockets at areas controlled by Russian-backed separatists often hitting civilian neighborhoods.

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International Photography Grant 2019