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Amid war in Ukraine: A photojournalist’s perspective

A woman walks her dog outside a building destroyed by bombs.
A woman walks her dog outside a building destroyed by bombing in Kharkiv, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
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War in Ukraine.

It’s dominating the news. It’s what we are all talking about.

We see the stories, the loss of innocents and the slow, methodical destruction of a country.

The Times’ Marcus Yam, no stranger to war photography, gives a first-person account of what he is seeing in Ukraine. Follow on Twitter, Instagram.

The following images may be disturbing to some readers.

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Day 35 of the Russian invasion: Life before the war seems like the distant past.

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Uncertain paths. Desolate peace. Silent pauses. Crippling fears. These images no longer belong.

A man wearing a black beanie and black jacket smokes in a dark doorway.
A man smokes while other residents have evacuated to underground shelters during a round of bombings in Schastia, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
A red car with people in medical face masks inside it driving through rain.
Workers drive home in New York, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

The landscape of war is shifting. Russians regrouping. Ukrainian towns liberated. Innocents dead. Humanity descending into the abyss.

I have exited Ukraine. Stepped away for health reasons. Grateful for the folks who shared their worlds with us. Feel guilty for abrupt departure. I do hope that there will be no more war to return to. Lastly, please support the journalists that are still on the ground.

Two people stand near rail tracks amid rain puddles outside at a train station.
A quiet moment at a train station in Kozacha Lopan, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
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Tuesday, March 29, 2022

A male soldier in army fatigues armed with a rifle stands in a room with sandbags behind him in an entryway.
Oleg Supereka stands guard at the regional administration building in Kharkiv, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Day 34 of Russian invasion: Oleg Supereka survived bombardment three times in the same place — the regional administration building.

The citizen-turned-soldier helped the injured despite his wounds. He returned to duty after every attack. “We want to defend our country,” he said.

Debris seen inside three floors of a damaged office building.
Inside the regional administration building in Kharkiv after it was destroyed by Russian bombs.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
An external view of destroyed office buildings.
Other damaged buildings in Kharkiv.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

In heavily bombarded Kharkiv, a Ukrainian soldier guards what’s left of a landmark building. “We unite and fight back,” he says.

March 29, 2022

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Monday, March 28, 2022

Two workers wearing red coats embrace each other outside where snow is visible on the ground.
Red Cross workers embrace after a resupply mission to residents unable to leave their homes in Kharkiv.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Day 33: The Red Cross is doing crucial humanitarian work in Kharkiv. They bring food, essential medicine and supplies to residents cut off from world.

Volunteers flag the neediest. They venture into great risk and chaotic environments. They bring heart and courage to their work.

Two male Red Cross workers deliver aid to an elderly female resident in the doorway of her home.
Red Cross workers deliver aid to a resident of Kharkiv.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
A young adult worker stands near white aid supply vehicle with a red cross on it.
A Red Cross worker waits for the next mission.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
A woman in a pink coat sits at a desk working at a laptop.
Volunteers work the call center at the Red Cross in Kharkiv.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
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A group of workers holding yellow cups gather into the center to cheers one another.
Kostiantyn Bashkirov, center, raises a glass with the rest of his team from the Red Cross after a long day.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

To keep morale up, they cook and dine together. Pineapple juice for pizzaz. Instant mash potatoes for warmth.

Kostiantyn Bashkirov expresses relief to see everyone alive after a supply mission to a liberated town. A toast: “For us, and each and every moments of our lives.”

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Two young girls are seen in a lighted doorway.
Milana, left, and Darina, both 4, play in a basement under a pharmacy in Kharkiv.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
A mother kissing her daughter's cheek while seated in a lighted room with bags and clothing strewn around them.
Yana Ostashko, 37, comforts daughter Veronika Ostashko, 16, in a subway station in Kharkiv.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Day 32 of the Russian invasion: Veronika is comforted by her mom Yana. They live underground now.

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Sofia Yufit sleeps in the locker room below the subway station.

Children are not meant to be in war.

A 10-year-old girl wearing a gray long-sleeved shirt sits on top of blankets on a tiled floor next to metal storage lockers.
Sofia Yufit, 10, sits on her sleeping space in the locker area of a subway station in Kharkiv. She and her family have been underground for more than a month.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
A woman wearing a blue beanie and green vest cries while seated inside a dimly lit room in a shelter.
Vera Panchenka, 69, cries as she listens to the sounds of war from a shelter in Kharkiv.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Some shelters are almost dungeon-like. Vera cries. “I just want peace. There is no meaning in fighting.”

A red seesaw on a playground in the foreground with a building on fire in the background.
A playground sits empty behind a building that had just been hit by Russian bombs.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
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Saturday, March 26, 2022

Day 31: A maternity hospital has moved underground. Several layers of blast doors to duck through. Old paint peeling off.

Two people in white hospital gowns sitting at a desk inside a dimly lit room in a dark underground shelter.
Hospital staff work in a shelter after a maternity ward moved its patients underground in Kharkiv.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

More than 200 pregnant women remain in Kharkiv.

“How can we leave the people behind. It was not their choice to become pregnant during the war. They can’t get well without the doctors. We gave oath to our jobs and we can’t abandon our patients.”

A pregnant woman with a face mask on lying on her side in a darkened shelter
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Kate Shepel lies in the darkness. Her hand comforts her belly. Nurses work quietly in the hallways. Premature newborns next door.

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Pregnant women, one sitting up and one lying down looking at her phone, on beds in a dark shelter.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
A baby in a white blanket lying down with a woman's hand placing a pacifier in the baby's mouth.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

For Ukrainian women seeking safety as they give birth, it is an ordeal more terrifying than war. “We can’t abandon our patients,” a maternity ward supervisor says.

April 8, 2022

Friday, March 25, 2022

Smeared blood on the ground.
Blood is seen on the sidewalk of a Kharkiv subway entrance.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Day 30: A trail of blood dragged into the subway. A rocket lands. Caution. A humanitarian aid station attacked the day before. Posters with a pinup girl and flowers inside a guard shack. Photographers run toward the siege. People walk away.

Four photos from Kharkiv showing soldiers, civilians and firefighters walking away or towards burning buildings.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
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The inside of a room with a pinup girl poster on the wall and a window open showing smoke rising from a building.
Inside a storage unit compound, smoke can be seen through a window of a guard shack.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
A pool of blood on the ground outside near a small blue building.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Warning: Graphic images

A mushroom cloud, then flames. Cars speed by. Residents pass by unfazed, with supplies. Burned civilians grimace in pain. Layers of skin peel off like latex gloves. Their hair singed.

A woman on left and a man sit on a sidewalk curb. The man has burn injuries on his face, body and hands.
A woman and a man with burn injuries.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

On the ground: Clothes with shredded flesh. A half-smoked cigarette. Human brain on top of a frozen pool of blood. A knitted beanie. A hand, cleanly sliced-off on knuckles. A razor edge of sunrise peering through the roof. The ray lifts a curtain of darkness, revealing the madness.

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A hand severed at the knuckles sits on the pavement
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

What had been a thriving metropolis of nearly 1.5 million people, Kharkiv, remains in Ukrainian hands, but at an enormous cost.

March 25, 2022

Thursday, March 24, 2022

In a city stalked by death and bombing, just four mourners gathered in a blustery chill for the final farewell to Boris Romantschenko, a 96-year-old survivor of Nazi concentration camps who was killed by a Russian missile strike.

His funeral, at a roadside cemetery on Kharkiv’s southern edge, was simple, stark — and held in haste. It was too windy to light candles. The stiff breeze quickly dried tears.

Everyone wept. A piece of history was gone. A boy who had survived the worst of human nature died an old man in a fresh atrocity.

Julia Romantschenko bids farewell to her grandfather, Boris Romantschenko.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
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Women stand by a grave.
Julia Romantschenko, left, with her mother, Liubov, right, and a friend. “He was a joyful person,” Julia said of her grandfather, Boris.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Grave diggers cover a coffin.
Boris Romantschenko had survived forced labor and detention in four concentration camps during World War II. He was killed March 18 by a Russian missile strike.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

A Holocaust survivor, killed by a missile strike on his apartment, is buried amid the devastation of the war in Ukraine.

March 24, 2022

In besieged Rohan, at least 50 people take refuge in a freezing cellar. Primitive living conditions. They drink water from a leaky pipe. Tied-together tree branches are used as insulation on the bare floor. Candles at night. Galina covers herself in a blanket and cries.

A woman wearing a black beanie and a coat lies down on a bench in front of a green wall.
Galina Victorovna, 75, lies on a bench and weeps in an underground shelter in the Rohan district of Kharkiv.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
A woman wearing a black beanie and dark blue coat stands outside in sunlight.
A resident emerges from an underground shelter in Kharkiv.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
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Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Day 28 of the Russian invasion: Vitaliy was hungry. Electric stoves are useless without power. He went looking for a gas stove. He was shot several times in the leg.

He dabbled with cars before the war. “I don’t build any roads. Now we have to rebuild all the roads here in Kharkiv and in Ukraine.”

The leg of a patient shown with gunshot wounds and a medical device attached on top.
Vitaliy Sukharev, 39, at a hospital in Kharkiv. He was in a car when he was hit by gunshots. The power was out at the hospital when he arrived, so medical staff carried him up seven flights of stairs.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
People collect what's left of shops burned down in the Barabashova market in Kharkiv, Ukraine.
People collect what’s left of shops burned down after Russian shelling in Kharkiv.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Marina pauses before surfacing in downtown Kharkiv. A Lada with two bullet holes through the windshield. Aid sent to families with food shortage for 10 days. An office diorama in display after a bombardment sliced a university building.

Marina Sheremet pauses before she steps outside after being underground for weeks in Kharkiv.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
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A man walks by a car with bullet holes in its windshield.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
A Red Cross worker examines a crater caused by bombing in Kharkiv.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Horror in Nemyshlianskyi district. Assault carves out cross-shaped scar.

Hallways become crematoriums. Kitchens burnt crisp.

A man walks past a nine-story apartment building destroyed by bombardment in Nemyshlianskyi district in Kharkiv, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
a cat pauses outside at sunset; burnt pages from a book; a man inspects the building; and what remains of a kitchen.
Clockwise from top left; a cat pauses outside at sunset; burnt pages from a children’s book; a man inspects the building; and what remains of a kitchen.
(Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times)
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A vase with yellow flowers on a desk in a dark room.
Flowers left behind after an underground shelter was abandoned underneath a school in Kharkiv, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Monday, March 21, 2022

Day 26 of invasion: Courage is forged by love. Of country, of culture, of language, they say.

The Svoboda gather in formation. Their stoic gaze scan the flickering dimness. A commander arrives.

Foreboding reminder of duty. “Glory” they chant. Shift change.

A man in a black beanie and green coat holding a rifle, surrounded by other armed men and women.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
A group of armed people walk toward the open door of a building.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
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Sunday, March 20, 2022

Day 25 of invasion: A rocket came almost 200m to a surrogacy center. The babies taken underground.

Nursing work is round the clock. Some pull double duty. Some juggle more. A crescendo of cries.

Nursing staff Svetlana Stetsiuk, tries to comfort an infant by rubbing their noses together, in a makeshift nursery
Nursing staff Svetlana Stetsiuk, tries to comfort an infant by rubbing their noses together, in a makeshift nursery underground in the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine. More than a dozen Ukranian-born surrogate babies along with the surrogacy center’s nursing staff are living underground in a shelter after Russian bombardment landed nearly 200 meters away from their above-ground nursery early March.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

One by one, babies are evacuated. Foreign parents await. Svetlana bids farewell to her Romeo, born in the war. Tears shed.

A baby cries for attention in a stroller in a makeshift nursery underground in the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Ihor Petrovic prepares to evacuate two babies from a makeshift nursery underground in the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine
Ihor Petrovic, second from left, prepares to evacuate two babies as Svetlana Stetsiuk, third from left, says goodbye to her favorite baby she named ‘Romeo,’ in a makeshift nursery underground in the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
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“You feel like they are your soulmates.” They eat, sleep, eat, sleep. “I have to be here to take care of these little angels.”

The war rages on.

A man in army fatigues looks into a baby carrier he is holding while outside near a white van with its door open.
Ihor Petrovic checks on the baby he is carrying as a vehicle waits to evacuate them.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Friday, March 18, 2022

Day 23 of invasion: A dead body lays exposed in the debris field. Russia strikes again. Hard.

His hands are together, as though asleep. I prayed he felt no pain.

A woman sobs in her dark bathroom. A grown man cries in his bedroom. It is cut open.

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Volunteers help clean up a children's school that faced the residential area attacked in Kyiv, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Residents salvage belongings from a home that was damaged by a Russian missile strike in Kyiv, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Evheniy Nikolin, left, consoles Evheniya Horho, after a residential area was attacked in Kyiv, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Day 22 of Russian invasion. The bombardment continues.

Authorities say Russian missile was intercepted. The deadly threat broke into pieces. It still wreaked havoc for civilians.

1 dead, 3 injured. Tarps are handed out. Windows need to be covered.

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A soldier stands guard outside a damaged residential building in the Pozniaky neighborhood of Kyiv, Ukraine
A soldier stands guard outside a damaged residential building caused by what authorities say is an intercepted missile that fell from the sky in the Pozniaky neighborhood of Kyiv, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Residents throw out debris from a damaged residential building in the Pozniaky neighborhood of Kyiv, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Day 21 of the Russian Invasion. ⁣Sun rises on a ghostly city. 36 hour curfew in Kyiv. No movement.

No field work to keep the mind preoccupied. Could not sleep more than 45 minutes at a time. Occasional sounds of explosions.

So many more lives upended. One less buddy to check in with. A small voice in my head bids farewell. Sun sets, but war does not.

Took a deep breathe.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Day 20: Shards of broken glass litter the ground. Flowers lay down to wither.

The bombardment is centering its crosshairs. The bell continues to toll.

Ukraine pleads for help.

Local residents recover items from their damaged homes in a residential building badly damaged by a Russian missile strike
Local residents, recover, pack and clean out their damaged homes in a residential building badly damaged by a Russian missile strike in the Vynogradir district of Kyiv, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Reporters and local residents stand outside a residential building that was damaged by a Russian missile strike in Kyiv
Reporters and local residents stand outside a residential building that was damaged by a Russian missile strike in the Vynogradir district of Kyiv, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Shards of glass and flowers cover the ground inside a floral shop damaged by a Russian missile strike in Kyiv, Ukraine
Shards of glass, debris and flowers cover the ground inside a floral shop damaged by a Russian missile strike in Kyiv, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
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Theresa Voloshyna cuts hair for Valentina Yermak at KoKo salon in Kyiv, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Monday, March 14, 2022

Day 19 of Russian invasion: War is inching closer to Kyiv.

Bombardment reaches into Obolon district in Kyiv. Authorities say 2 people killed, 9 others wounded.

Falling debris grows into a pile. Civilians evacuate.

Hiding in a home in Irpin, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
A firefighter outside a partially burned building with window blasted out.
Firefighters investigate what Kyiv officials say was a Russian bombing of an apartment building in the Obolon neighborhood of Irpin, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
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Residents clean up the debris on a burned out section of a building damaged in the Obolon neighborhood of Irpin, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
A man looks on at the damaged to apartment building in the Obolon neighborhood of Irpin, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Day 18 of Russian invasion: Saying goodbye to Irpin.

Dimness sustains. Ferrying souls to a broken bridge. A gentle kiss to reassure. Dog paralyzed with fear. Bombardment reaches beyond. Dark smoke paints sky. A journalist killed. Daylight tears.

Russian soldiers came from behind us. Caught us by surprise. Missed chance to photograph. Sidestepped into a doorway. Homeowner ushered us to hide inside. Soldiers stroll past. We remain silent. Windows can reveal us. Searching for a signal.

Emma, who only wants her first name used, peeks out her window that faces the street
Emma, who asked that only her first name be used, peeks out her window to see if Russian soldiers who were walking by are still visible. Russian forces control that part of the neighborhood in Irpin, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
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A couple embraces.
A couple embraces as they ride in a van driven by Maksim Chepchenko, not pictured, who helps people get out of the besieged town of Irpin, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Ukrainian soldiers help evacuate an elderly woman from the besieged town of Irpin.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Andrei Kulik tries to comfort a dog who refused to move after a neighborhood was bombed in Irpin, Ukraine, on Sunday.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
A mother and son.
Lila embraces her son, Artem, 5, as the sounds of bombs echo through their apartment complex in Irpin, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Bombed-out cars and smoke from fires.
Smoke rises from homes bombed by Russian forces in Irpin, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
A woman and soldiers.
Olga Grigorieva is emotional as she and other residents are driven to safety by Maksim Chepchenko, not pictured.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
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Saturday, March 12, 2022

Flames roar in a damaged home.
A home caught fire after it was damaged by Russian bombardment Saturday in Irpin, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Day 17 of Russian invasion: Soldiers march into Irpin, Ukraine.

A house bombarded. A cross burns. Holdouts linger. A driver pleads with them. “You will die if you stay.” They huddle for strength. They cook for warmth. Explosions echo through the corridors. A mother comforts her son.

Men in coats and hats gather around outdoor fires with cooking pots
Irpin residents on the edge of town, close to the front line, gather outside and make a communal meal as Ukrainian and Russian forces battle.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
A car door is open and a man's body lies on the ground next to it.
The body of a man in civilian clothes lies in an Irpin, Ukraine, park next to a car that crashed into the trees.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
A view through a windshield of armed soldiers marching on either side of the road.
Ukrainian soldiers march in formation toward the battle with Russian forces in Irpin, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
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First there were dogs. Then there were cats. Today, we went to a house ablaze in the besieged town of Irpin, saw chickens running from it. Under a nearby shrub, this poor burned chicken. It was terrified but still alive.

A chicken with singed feathers rests under a bush.
A chicken takes shelter after running from a burning house after Russian bombardment in Irpin, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Volunteers face grim decisions in Irpin, a suburb of Kyiv, as Russian forces continue their inexorable advance.

March 14, 2022

Friday, March 11, 2022

A bridge that crossed the Trubizh River is destroyed on a road leading to Borshchiv, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Baryshivka. Evening time usually ends in silence and calmness. Looking up reveals a missile smoke trail tearing through the sky. It fishtails. It darts. Moves from shade of amber to shade of blue. I can’t even begin to imagine the shade of color destruction brings.

A smoke trail from a rocket launch in the evening sky colored orange, yellow and blue in Baryshivka, Ukraine.
A smoke trail from a rocket launch is seen in the evening sky in Baryshivka, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
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Volunteer fighters stand outside vehicle while identification is verified.
Volunteer fighters stand outside a vehicle while identification is verified in Baryshivka, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Debris is everywhere after a Russian missile strike in the town of Baryshivka, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Day 15 of Russian invasion: Ukrainian soldiers visit their wounded comrades.

Between Irpin and Bucha, Ukraine: Czech hedgehogs become ubiquitous. A plume of smoke rises after Ukrainian bombardment. Golden and purple hues illuminate sky. Wood stocked for warm fires. Soldiers sprint from cover to cover. Sunset gleams off tank at rest.

A street with obstacles across it in several places while smoke rises behind buildings.
A view near the front line in Irpin, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Ukrainian soldiers run cautiously along a sidewalk.
After fighting in Irpin, just outside the capital of Kyiv, Ukrainian soldiers run cautiously back toward safety from the front line.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
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A civilian fighter walks amid debris while smoke rises behind him in the distance.
A civilian fighter walks toward the front line, where Ukrainian troops have been battling Russian forces in Irpin, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
A Ukrainian tank sits in a defensive position in a residential street near buildings
A Ukrainian tank sits in a defensive position in the besieged town of Irpin, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Neighbors do welfare check on each other in a town besieged. A wife sobs as she cares for wounded husband. A doctor hunches inside a tunnel leading to a bomb shelter.

Maksim Chepchenko checks on his neighbor's welfare as he drives around and volunteers to help people evacuate from Irpin
Maksim Chepchenko checks on his neighbor’s welfare as he drives around and volunteers to help people evacuate from Irpin, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Oxana Seychuk weeps as she watches over her husband, Vasil, who was wounded by Russian bombardment
Oxana Seychuk weeps as she watches over her husband, Vasil, who was wounded by Russian bombardment and is recovering at a hospital in Brovary, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Dr. Volodymyr Andriiets heads toward a bomb shelter under a hospital in Brovary, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
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I saw a dog stuck inside a store at gas station that we walked past in Irpin today. It refused to come out.

There was broken glass all over. It was afraid. We did everything we could to console and encourage him. He refused and stayed inside. Godspeed.

I saw a dog stuck inside a store at gas station that we walked past in Irpin today. It refused to come out.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Day 14 of the invasion: So much misery and suffering all across Ukraine.

But the freeze is coming to Kyiv. So are the Russians. Blockades have been set, trenches dug, and stockpiles ready. People without have cars go by foot.

People walk past a roadblock in the snow.
People walk past a roadblock set up with heavy transport vehicles to stop Russian forces from driving into in Kyiv.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
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Andre Kholyavko, injured in a Russian bombardment, recovers at a hospital in Kozolets, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Local residents get supplies and wait for food distribution at the center of town in Oster, Ukraine
Local residents go about their daily business, get supplies and wait for food distribution at the center of town in Oster, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

On the road to Kyiv: A Ukrainian soldier lowers his rifle, raises his fist in salute & chants ‘Slava Ukraine.’ He acknowledges his fellow soldiers as they return from battle in a vehicle up the road.

A Ukrainian soldier lowers his rifle, raises his fist in salute and chants 'Slava Ukraine.'
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

An explosion just rocked the town of Kalynivka, Ukraine.

A dark plume of smoke weaves through the forested edge of town. Black and blue containers scatter all over. A security guard for truck depot next door tells us that it is a storage facility for chemicals.

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(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Firefighters respond to a fire caused by a Russian bombardment on a storage facility
Firefighters respond to the aftermath of a Russian bombardment of a storage facility on the edge of Kalynivka, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
A woman closes her nose to prevent inhaling the smell of chemicals caused by a plume of smoke
A woman closes her nose to avoid the smell of chemicals as black smoke rises from a fire caused by Russian bombardment of a storage facility near Kalynivka.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Monday, March 7, 2022

Day 12 of the invasion: Two men walk under a bridge clutching their rifles.

Two men walk up a bridge with a stretcher. One man lies on his side on a badly damaged bridge. Dead.

A dark plume of smoke rises in the distance.

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Two men prepare to move a body on the ground
Ukrainian volunteers help remove the body of a civilian as Russian forces besiege a residential neighborhood in Irpin, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
A Ukrainian soldier checks the identification papers for civilians evacuating from the incoming invasion of Russian forces
A Ukrainian soldier checks the identification papers of civilians evacuating in Irpin.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Sunday, March 6, 2022

Day 11 of the invasion: Russia is bombarding evacuation routes.

The whistle sound of incoming artillery haunts in reality and in memory. Hundreds flee Irpin.

Some walk for miles, cross broken bridges, take cover in ditches. They run in fear.

Local residents cross the Irpin River as they evacuate Irpin, outside Kyiv.
Local residents cross the Irpin River as they evacuate Irpin, outside Kyiv.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
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Ukrainian soldiers brace for incoming Russian artillery fire in Irpin.

Russia is pressing its offensive on Kyiv, intensifying attacks. Zelensky again pleads for a no-fly zone.

A humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding.

Ukrainian soldiers take cover as they brace for incoming Russian artillery fire at their defensive position
Ukrainian soldiers take cover as they brace for incoming Russian artillery fire at their defensive position in Irpin, Ukraine,
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Civilians evacuate from Irpin.
Civilians evacuate from Irpin.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Saturday, March 5, 2022

In the village of Markhalivka, 13 miles southwest of Kyiv’s center, an airstrike Friday left a rubble-filled crater and killed six people — including a 12-year-old girl.

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Her father, Igor Majayev, a 54-year-old driver, sifted through the ruins of what had been his two-story home on Saturday. “What can I say?” he said, pausing for a moment to take in the totality of the destruction. When the strike happened, Majayev was lying down in the room next to where his daughter, Masha, was sleeping.

“This was her wheelchair,” he said in a daze. Now, she’s dead. So is his wife, Anya. Two grandchildren, 7 and 8, were injured and taken to a hospital in nearby Vasylkiv. “Never in my life did I imagine this situation, and from Russia,” he said.

Igor Majayev looks over the remains of his home after an attack that killed his wife and daughter in Markhalivka, Ukraine.
Igor Majayev looks over the remains of his home after an attack that killed his wife and daughter in Markhalivka, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
A woman clasps her hands in front of her face as she stands amid rubble.
Gulayim Tolibaeva sobs as she watches residents help clear the rubble of a home destroyed in Markhalivka, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
A woman holds up a hose that has red stains on it amid rubble.
Local residents help clear rubble, some of it covered in red stains.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Men in camouflage stand near a smoking fire on the ground surrounded by dining chairs and a table with food.
Ukrainian members of a tank unit keep warm near their vehicle as they guard a highway near Sytnyaky, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
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Friday, March 4, 2022

One car arrives. Two. Three. Victoria gets into the passenger seat and bursts into tears. She no longer can contain it. The bombardment continues. The fight continues to besiege the city. Urgently, they race to safety.

Viktoria Mamalyga breaks down after a getaway car arrives to ferry civilians away from the shelter
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Saving souls: Ukrainian soldiers help civilians rush to evacuate on one of the last trains ferrying mostly women and children out of Irpin as the sounds of battle gets closer.

Civilians, mostly women and children, rush to board a train
Civilians rush to board any train car that still has room in Irpin, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

The fight rages closer. Sounds of gunfire and bombs intensify under a smoke-filled sky. The men say goodbye to their families. Soldiers with weapons drawn rush to get women and children to board a train to evacuate out of Irpin, Ukraine.

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A woman holding a dog looks out a train window.
A passenger holds a pet aboard an outbound train in Irpin.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Dramatic escape today out of this small town called Irpin, Ukraine. There was gunfire and artillery constantly hitting the town.

We arrived at the train station, saw women and children boarding the last train. The shelling hit a house a few buildings from the train tracks. Soldiers drew their guns and aimed in the direction of the Russians. Smoke columns fill the air, you could smell the cordite. It felt like a scene out of a movie.

Last train out. Women and children had to go. Men stayed behind. Soldiers were vigilant about protecting the train from the Russians.

A woman breaks down in tears as she realizes she is getting to board an evacuating train in Irpin, Ukraine.
A woman cries as she realizes she is getting to board a train out of Irpin.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Civilians prepare to leave the city
Civilians prepare to evacuate Irpin.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
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Civilians cross a river.
Civilians cross the Irpin River on the remains of a destroyed bridge.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Civilians sit in darkness and take shelter inside building in Irpin, Ukraine.
Civilians take shelter as the fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces rages in Irpin, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Thank you to a gentleman named Greg, an American from Kentucky who picked up a pair of curious hitchhikers (reporter Nabih Bulos and myself) on a highway near Makariv, Ukraine. The man was en route to Kyiv to reunite and evacuate his girlfriend! We wish you well on your journey.

Columns of smoke rise from the horizon as loud explosions echo from the north, as seen from the Irpin River.

A Ukrainian soldier stands guard outside a checkpoint on the road to Irpin, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
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Thursday, March 3, 2022

Four photos of war in Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Saw some things today that one cannot unsee: A mother’s child. A soldier. A lifeless body. A lonely hand. A heart on the road.

Russian forces met a violent end on a highway near Sytnyaky. Bodies scattered. Military vehicles reduced to incinerated husks. Ukrainian soldiers prepare for a possible onslaught of Russian tanks outside Kyiv, Ukraine.

A Ukrainian soldier displays military items collected from Russian forces in Sytnyaky, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
A Ukrainian tank crew in a ready position on a highway near Sytnyaky, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Damage caused by a Russian missile attack on the Kyiv TV tower in the capital.
Damage caused by a Russian missile attack on the Kyiv TV tower in the capital.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
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On Day 7 of the Russian invasion, while I was reporting in a Kyiv subway station, 9-year-old Uliana tapped me on my arm. She gifted me a heart-shaped item she’d embroidered while sheltering underground with her family during air raids.

Kyiv subway station
Andriy Khlyvnyuk, a Ukrainian rock star who joined the armed forces, is greeted by a fan in Kyiv
Andriy Khlyvnyuk, a Ukrainian rock star who joined the armed forces to defend his country against the Russian invasion, is greeted by a fan in Kyiv.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Lena wipes her brow in exhaustion as she takes care of Max, 3, whom she has only known for a few days. Max’s parents were getting some rest in a subway station where civilians are taking shelter from Russian air raids in Kyiv.

Lena from Kyiv takes care of Max, 3, whom she has known only a few days
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

A Ukrainian soldier walks down railroad tracks after passing the bodies of two Russian soldiers
A Ukrainian soldier walks down railroad tracks near the bodies of two Russian soldiers on the outskirts of Irpin, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
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Below, standing on top of a bridge that was destroyed, an elderly couple stay close together (he’s embracing her) as they gaze at people crossing a river to make their way out of their besieged city of Irpin, Ukraine. They eventually turned around.

A couple in the besieged city of Irpin, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
A man crosses a makeshift bridge built to allow foot traffic over the Irpin River after the main bridge was destroyed
A man crosses a makeshift bridge over the Irpin River after the main bridge was destroyed to stop the advance of Russian tanks outside Irpin, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Volunteers carry rifles across a river under a destroyed bridge to reinforce Ukrainian troops in Irpin, Ukraine
Volunteers carry rifles across a river under a destroyed bridge to reinforce Ukrainian troops in Irpin, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

On Day 6 of the invasion, the Kyiv train station is packed. Hundreds people are trying to board a train heading out of town, with news of the Russian convoy approaching the city.

Crowds gather at the Kyiv train station after news of Russian convoys approaching the city.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
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Monday, Feb. 28, 2022

On Day 5 of the invasion, volunteer fighters stand in formation, check their weapons, put on yellow armbands, get marching orders and head out to their posts to defend Kyiv from the Russian invasion.

Volunteer fighters muster in Kyiv waiting for orders.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Closeup of a rifle being held by a person standing in a dirt pit.
A volunteer fighter carrying a rifle walks in a trench, ready to defend Kyiv.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry asked citizens in a tweet to “make Molotov cocktails and take down the occupier.” Then came the elbow-grease grass-roots effort to fight back. We went three floors underground to see it.

Volunteers make Molotov cocktails to use against Russian troops in Kyiv.
Volunteers make Molotov cocktails in an underground bunker to use against Russian troops in Kyiv.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
The view from a damaged apartment in a residential building following a missile strike in Kyiv.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
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Even with sporadic sounds of gunfire and blasts, the silence blanketing Kyiv at this moment gives me the creeps. It feels like a scene out of ‘28 Days Later.’

Kyiv authorities toughened curfew orders leaving the streets empty in the capital, Kyiv.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022

People whose water service at home has been disrupted line up to get water at a central pumping station in Schastia, Ukraine
Residents whose water service has been disrupted line up for water at a central pumping station in Shchastia, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Monday, Feb. 21, 2022

A woman pushes a baby in a stroller across railroad tracks at the train station in Kozacha Lopan, Ukraine
A woman pushes a baby in a stroller across railroad tracks at the train station in Kozacha Lopan, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
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