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These portraits offer a glimpse of life in Ukraine before the war with Russia began in 2022. They were taken over six years, during a simmering conflict sparked by Russia’s invasion of eastern and southern parts of Ukraine in 2014. While the strain of living with constant threat is more immediately evident in some photographs than others, they all portray the humanity and resilience of a population now under direct attack.
One image shows members of a children’s choir who were among the millions of Ukrainians displaced by the 2014 invasion. Another depicts a farmer who survived Russian imprisonment. Meanwhile, holidaymakers picnic in Odesa, despite the looming possibility of further Russian aggression.
The photographs are drawn from Stop Tanks With Books, a project by the British photographer Mark Neville. Neville began photographing the people and places of Ukraine in 2015 and moved to Kyiv in 2020. Distributed free to policy makers, politicians and activists just four days before the current war began, the book’s purpose is to focus international attention on the crisis in Ukraine.
All photographs courtesy of Mark Neville