In the Trenches of Ukraine’s Long War
As diplomacy scrambles to avert the threat of a Russian invasion, Ukraine is locked into a consuming, nerve-wrecking conflict against Moscow-backed militias.
All photos by Anatoliy Stepanov
Snow blankets Ukraine’s eastern regions, covering forests and villages – and the country’s frontline. The vast winter land hides a warren of tunnels and trenches, letterbox-style watch posts, camouflage nets, barbed wire and sandbags, firebases in abandoned houses and factories.
Ukraine has been fighting Russia-backed militias for eight years. In 2014 Moscow-backed militias seized parts of the eastern border regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, in the Donbas area, once an industrial powerhouse. Since then, over 13,000 people have been killed, both combatants and civilians, and hundreds of thousands have fled their homes. Coal mines and factories lay neglected and abandoned.
Eight years on, international diplomacy is hard at work to avert the threat of a massive military Russian incursion into Ukraine. In the east, the heavy artillery is today largely silent, but a nerve wrecking conflict continues – with no end in sight.
This publication was prepared under the "Amplify, Verify, Engage (AVE) Project" implemented with the financial support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway.