Ukrainian documentary photographers presented a multimedia project #AFTERILOVAISK – a website with personal stories of Ukrainian soldiers who died in or survived the Battle of Ilovaisk in August 2014, the worst episode of the undeclared Russian-Ukrainian war. The authors are Maksym Levin and Markian Lyseiko, documentary photographers who had been covering events in the “pocket” of Ilovaisk on August 23-29. “This project commemorates those people and the tragic events which happened three years ago. We wanted to write down stories of every soldier we met there, in Ilovaisk, and families of those who died or are still missing. We wanted to ask them what was their main motivation to take arms, how they were getting out of the encirclement; to collect evidence about the presence of Russian army on Ukraine’s territory,” said Maksym Levin, currently photographer-reporter at LB.UA, presenting the project at a press-briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
“Through this project, we wanted to show the life of these guys before they went to war and what happened to them later. Some were killed in the battle, someone was wounded but survived. Some of them came back to civilian life and tried to find a job or relaunch a business, others are still on the frontline. These stories altogether will help to understand what was going on in 2014, the first year of war with Russia,” explained Markian Lyseiko.
As of today, there are 14 stories published at the project website. In total, there will be nearly 40. According to project authors, there is one thing that unites all the stories – the motivation to take up arms to defend their country and refusal to stay aside.
“Maksym and his colleagues are the only journalists who were in Ilovaisk covering the events. This is a very important project, it commemorates these events and strengthens the national spirit, helping people to understand the motivation of soldiers who were there,” says Sonya Koshkina, senior editor at LB.ua.