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Nightly terror: documenting the human toll of Russian missile attacks in Zaporizhzhia
I travelled to Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine in October 2022 with American writer Kris Parker to report on the devastating impact of Russian missile attacks on civilian targets.
In October 2022, I travelled with American writer Kris Parker to Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, to witness the devastating impact of Russian missile attacks on civilian targets. During our trip, we met residents who had survived the attacks, including Bohdan Horelov, whose family’s apartment building was hit by a missile and buried them under the rubble. The attack killed 17 people and injured at least 60 others, including six children who were hospitalized.
The reportage documented the fear and trauma inflicted on the residents of Zaporizhzhia, with interviews from rescue workers, firemen, volunteers, and psychologists. The missile attacks were happening with increasing frequency, occurring nightly, and often without warning. Children were among the victims, and it was clear that the conflict was taking a significant toll on the civilian population.
As I walked through the Leontovycha Street intersection near School 61 in Zaporizhzhia, I was struck by the eerie moonscape that lay before me. Dozens of residential houses had been reduced to ash following a Russian airstrike in the early hours of October 9th, 2022.
Despite the devastation, volunteers and Ukrainian emergency responders worked tirelessly to clear the rubble and search for survivors. Some residents were lucky enough to have survived and were sent to nearby hospitals, but others wandered the once-familiar streets, terrified, sad, and confused.
As a photographer for the reportage, I captured the haunting images of this neighbourhood-turned-moonscape, while American writer Kris Parker and production assistant Oleksandr Puhach documented the stories of those affected by the attack.
The attack on Zaporizhzhia followed the illegal annexation of four regions of Ukraine by Russian forces. The reportage documented the anger and fear felt by residents towards Putin and his army.
Despite the devastation inflicted on Zaporizhzhia, there has been no respite from the attacks. The reportage documented another barrage of missiles destroying targets around the city roughly 24 hours later, with at least one person reported killed and five wounded. The ongoing conflict in Ukraine is taking a human toll on the civilian population, and it is crucial to raise awareness of this issue.
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