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Peski 14
Peski, Ukraine
By Olya Morvan
17 Mar 2015

Unexploded mortar rounds like on the ground. Peski, just over a kilometer from Donetsk Airport, has been the scene of multiple flare-ups in fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists.

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Peski 15
Peski, Ukraine
By Olya Morvan
17 Mar 2015

Peski, just over a kilometer from Donetsk Airport, has been the scene of multiple flare-ups in fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists.

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Peski 16
Peski, Ukraine
By Olya Morvan
17 Mar 2015

A house where Pravy Sektor soldiers once lived catches fire after being hit by a shell.

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Peski 17
Peski, Ukraine
By Olya Morvan
17 Mar 2015

Soldiers from the far-fight Pravy Sektor enjoy a barbecue inside their house in Peski, while outside heavy shelling continues.

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Peski 18
Peski, Ukraine
By Olya Morvan
17 Mar 2015

A soldier from the Pravy Sektor watches Putin's speech on Russian TV at their house in Peski.

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Peski 19
Peski, Ukraine
By Olya Morvan
17 Mar 2015

A woman soldier cleans her weapon.

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Peski 20
Peski, Ukraine
By Olya Morvan
17 Mar 2015

An injured soldier from the Pravy Sektor is waiting to be transferred to the nearest hospital.

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Peski 21
Peski, Ukraine
By Olya Morvan
17 Mar 2015

Lev, a soldier from Pravy Sektor was injured on March 17, 2015. Five more soldiers were injured on the same day.

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Peski 22
Peski, Ukraine
By Olya Morvan
17 Mar 2015

Lev, a soldier from Praviy sector was injured in Peski on March 17, 2015. Five more soldiers were injured on the same day.

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Ukraine: The Wait 18
Mariupol, Ukraine
By Benas Gerdziunas
17 Mar 2015

The separatists’ diversionary raid on a railway bridge leaves passenger trains stranded in Mariupol. After many months of idleness, the bridge was finally repaired.

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Ukraine: The Wait 05
Mariupol, Ukraine
By Benas Gerdziunas
16 Mar 2015

The strategic southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol continues to rely on its heavy-industries, even as shells randomly hit its eastern outskirts, or the near-constant fighting in Shyrokino - a village 30 kilometers east of Mariupol. Even as analysts and military intelligence predict a weekly separatist assault, it hasn’t happened in a year; the steel mills roll on.

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Ukraine: The Wait 10
Mariupol, Ukraine
By Benas Gerdziunas
14 Mar 2015

‘Psych’, a young volunteer fighter with one of Ukraine’s makeshift battalions ‘St. Mary’. After being reformed from the Shakhtorsk Battalion, the newly established battalion’s leaders are adopting a Christian Crusader façade.

“I’m an atheist,” he says, trying to conceal a pre-adolescent face under khaki balaclava.

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Syrian Refugee Stories: Hussein
Berlin,Germany
By luigi serenelli
10 Mar 2015

Hussein, a 27 year-old from Aleppo, considers Germany the right place in Europe to fulfill his career as an IT engineer while his home country, Syria, enters the fifth year of an unending civil war.

“I came to Germany to complete and advance my studies to become an engineer,” said Hussein. “I don’t know exactly how many years of my previous study institutions here will officially recognize. Maybe they will put me in the first year, but I am ready to re-start from the first year at university if that should be the case.”

Hussein arrived in Berlin on March 6th via Turkey and Greece. The civil war in Syria forced him to withdraw from a five-years course in IT engineering at the university in Aleppo.

“I had a diploma as a computer technician, then I decided to upgrade my certificate by attending engineering courses. I studied for two years in an institute for the diploma and then four years at a university,” Hussein said.

Back in Syria, Hussein’s livelihood was decent, but his wage of around 250 euros didn’t secure him economic independence.

“I had my own house that my parents gave to me, but I didn’t live there, and I had my own car, but they were both destroyed,” he said.

In Aleppo, Hussein taught computer science in a school to students from 6th to 11th grade. Meanwhile, he had a second job.

“I was a swim instructor. I used to go directly to the swimming pool when I finished work at the school, and also I worked as a lifeguard. I was in a good situation before the war.”

Many other skilled Syrians take the decision to start anew a life in Europe. On the continent, Germany’s powerful mix of stable economy and welfare state catches hearts and minds of young, talented asylum seekers from Syria. 

“There is life in Germany, more than other Scandinavian countries such as Sweden or Denmark,” Hussein believes. “Berlin is the best city in Europe for everything. The university is very good here in Germany. Most people are helpful towards new people coming.”

The number of refugees arriving in Berlin from war-torn Syria spiked last year. According to LAGeSo – Landesamtes für Gesundheit und Soziales - the operative branch of the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs of the State of Berlin - in 2013 only 695 Syrians applied to start the asylum procedure in the German capital. In 2014, that number jumped to 2.518. The German Federal migration office recorded 5.340 new asylum requests from Syrians since last January, which in the same month of 2014 numbered only 1.637, a 224 per cent increase.

Syrians coming to Europe try to circumvent the Dublin regulation – imposing asylum seekers to stay in the first country of arrival in Europe – by asking to register as asylum seekers either in Berlin or Stuttgart, southern Germany. Both cities have decided to issue residence permits even if refugees had registered somewhere else in Europe.

“All Syrians, when they come from Turkey to Austria or Germany, should pass through Hungary or Italy; and the police maybe catches them and takes the fingerprints,” Hussein said. “For that, all people are coming here and you can see too many people. I came via Turkey, Greece and then I took a flight to Germany.”

Hussein’s family is now scattered in the Middle East: His father is in Lebanon, his mother is still in Syria. “I am in contact with my parents every day via internet,” he said. “In Germany, I have my friends from Syria and two cousins who are German nationals.”

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Syrian Stories: Hussein 01
Berlin, Germany
By luigi serenelli
10 Mar 2015

Hussein, 27, poses for sits in front of LAGeSo – Landesamtes für Gesundheit und Soziales - the operative branch of the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs of the State of Berlin - where he awaits his turn to ask for a residence permit.

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Ukraine: The Wait 20
Slovyansk, Donetsk Oblast
By Benas Gerdziunas
10 Mar 2015

The psychiatric hospital in Semyonovka, Donetsk Region, saw heavy fighting at the start of the War in Donbass. Both sides accuse the other for its destruction and using civilians trapped in the crossfire as cover. According to Human Rights Watch, patients and staff were evacuated on May 26, 2014 “to other facilities in Zhdanovka, Gorlovka, and Donetsk.”

All of these territories are now under control of the Pro-Russian separatists. A man from Semyonovka- who preferred to remain anonymous, said as he scourged through the remains of his home: “Last time I heard, they were taken to Russia after the evacuation.”

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Syrian Stories: Hussein 02
Berlin, Germany
By luigi serenelli
09 Mar 2015

Hussein, 27, poses for sits in front of LAGeSo – Landesamtes für Gesundheit und Soziales - the operative branch of the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs of the State of Berlin - where he awaits his turn to ask for a residence permit.

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Syrian Stories: Hussein 03
Berlin, Germany
By luigi serenelli
09 Mar 2015

Hussein, 27, poses for sits in front of LAGeSo – Landesamtes für Gesundheit und Soziales - the operative branch of the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs of the State of Berlin - where he awaits his turn to ask for a residence permit.

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Ukraine: The Wait 04
Kramatorsk, Donetsk Oblast
By Benas Gerdziunas
09 Mar 2015

Two of Tanya’s seven children huddle by a television in Kramatorsk refugee centre. Having escaped war in the neighbouring city of Gorlovka - currently under separatist control, the family breathes easily. Boredom prevails, as the children – along with the teenagers, move from one screen to another, trying to entertain themselves.

“My husband will join us here soon,” says the mother Tanya, “everything is perfect.” Meanwhile, her eldest daughter stares at the flickering screen in front.

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Women Fighters Ukraine 03
Schachtya, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
24 Feb 2015

February 15, 2015, Shchastya, Lugansk Oblast, Ukraine. Nurses Lesya and Dasha live and work inside the in the only working field hospital in the hotly contested town of Shchastya on the frontlines. A mere 16 KM away is the separatist held town of Luhansk. Pro-Russian separatists have shelled the town constantly since the ceasefire completly broke down in mid january. The two nurses treat the many wounded soldiers and locals who have been injured in the fighting. (Jonathan Alpeyrie)

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Women Fighters Ukraine 04
Schachtya, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
24 Feb 2015

February 15, 2015, Shchastya, Lugansk Oblast, Ukraine. Nurses Lesya and Dasha live and work inside the in the only working field hospital in the hotly contested town of Shchastya on the frontlines. A mere 16 KM away is the separatist held town of Luhansk. Pro-Russian separatists have shelled the town constantly since the ceasefire completly broke down in mid january. The two nurses treat the many wounded soldiers and locals who have been injured in the fighting. (Jonathan Alpeyrie)

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Women Fighters Ukraine 05
Schachtya, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
24 Feb 2015

February 16, 2015, Shchastya, Lugansk Oblast, Ukraine. Mama Tanya, a veteran from the Nagorno-Karabak war in the mid 90's is now fighting alongside Ukrainian forces by going to the front lines as soon as an injured soldier needs to be taken to the rear and receive treatment. (Jonathan Alpeyrie)

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Women Fighters Ukraine 06
Schachtya, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
24 Feb 2015

February 16, 2015, Shchastya, Lugansk Oblast, Ukraine. Mama Tanya, a veteran from the Nagorno-Karabak war in the mid 90's is now fighting alongside Ukrainian forces by going to the front lines as soon as an injured soldier needs to be taken to the rear and receive treatment. (Jonathan Alpeyrie)

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Women Fighters Ukraine 07
Schachtya, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
24 Feb 2015

February 16, 2015, Shchastya, Lugansk Oblast, Ukraine. Mama Tanya, a veteran from the Nagorno-Karabak war in the mid 90's is now fighting alongside Ukrainian forces by going to the front lines as soon as an injured soldier needs to be taken to the rear and receive treatment. (Jonathan Alpeyrie)

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Women Fighters Ukraine 08
Schachtya, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
24 Feb 2015

February 16, 2015, Shchastya, Lugansk Oblast, Ukraine. Mama Tanya, a veteran from the Nagorno-Karabak war in the mid 90's is now fighting alongside Ukrainian forces by going to the front lines as soon as an injured soldier needs to be taken to the rear and receive treatment. (Jonathan Alpeyrie)

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Women Fighters Ukraine 09
Schachtya, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
24 Feb 2015

February 16, 2015, Shchastya, Lugansk Oblast, Ukraine. Mama Tanya, a veteran from the Nagorno-Karabak war in the mid 90's is now fighting alongside Ukrainian forces by going to the front lines as soon as an injured soldier needs to be taken to the rear and receive treatment. (Jonathan Alpeyrie)

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Women Fighters Ukraine 10
Schachtya, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
24 Feb 2015

February 16, 2015, Shchastya, Lugansk Oblast, Ukraine. Vitaminka has left boyfriend and family to join in the Aydar volunteer batallion and fight against the Russian supported separatist forces. She now fights on the front lines alongside men. (Jonathan Alpeyrie)

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Women Fighters Ukraine 11
Schachtya, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
24 Feb 2015

February 16, 2015, Shchastya, Lugansk Oblast, Ukraine. Vitaminka has left boyfriend and family to join in the Aydar volunteer batallion and fight against the Russian supported separatist forces. She now fights on the front lines alongside men. (Jonathan Alpeyrie)

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Women Fighters Ukraine 12
Schachtya, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
24 Feb 2015

February 16, 2015, Shchastya, Lugansk Oblast, Ukraine. Vitaminka has left boyfriend and family to join in the Aydar volunteer batallion and fight against the Russian supported separatist forces. She now fights on the front lines alongside men. (Jonathan Alpeyrie)

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Women Fighters Ukraine 13
Schachtya, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
24 Feb 2015

February 16, 2015, Shchastya, Lugansk Oblast, Ukraine. Vitaminka has left boyfriend and family to join in the Aydar volunteer batallion and fight against the Russian supported separatist forces. She now fights on the front lines alongside men. (Jonathan Alpeyrie)

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Women Fighters Ukraine 14
Schachtya, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
24 Feb 2015

February 16, 2015, Shchastya, Lugansk Oblast, Ukraine. Vitaminka has left boyfriend and family to join in the Aydar volunteer batallion and fight against the Russian supported separatist forces. She now fights on the front lines alongside men. (Jonathan Alpeyrie)

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Women Fighters Ukraine 15
Schachtya, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
24 Feb 2015

February 16, 2015, Shchastya, Lugansk Oblast, Ukraine. Vitaminka has left boyfriend and family to join in the Aydar volunteer batallion and fight against the Russian supported separatist forces. She now fights on the front lines alongside men. (Jonathan Alpeyrie)

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Women Fighters Ukraine 16
Schachtya, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
24 Feb 2015

February 16, 2015, Shchastya, Lugansk Oblast, Ukraine. Anaconda also left family and friends to join up and fight in the war against the pro-Russian separatists. She enjoys her time at the front risking her life alongside the men from the battalion. (Jonathan Alpeyrie)

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Women Fighters Ukraine 17
Schachtya, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
24 Feb 2015

February 16, 2015, Shchastya, Lugansk Oblast, Ukraine. Anaconda also left family and friends to join up and fight in the war against the pro-Russian separatists. She enjoys her time at the front risking her life alongside the men from the battalion. (Jonathan Alpeyrie)

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Women Fighters Ukraine 18
Schachtya, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
24 Feb 2015

February 16, 2015, Shchastya, Lugansk Oblast, Ukraine. Anaconda also left family and friends to join up and fight in the war against the pro-Russian separatists. She enjoys her time at the front risking her life alongside the men from the battalion. (Jonathan Alpeyrie)

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Women Fighters Ukraine 19
Schachtya, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
24 Feb 2015

February 16, 2015, Shchastya, Lugansk Oblast, Ukraine. Anaconda also left family and friends to join up and fight in the war against the pro-Russian separatists. She enjoys her time at the front risking her life alongside the men from the battalion. (Jonathan Alpeyrie)

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Women Fighters Ukraine 21
Schachtya, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
24 Feb 2015

February 16, 2015, Shchastya, Lugansk Oblast, Ukraine. Anaconda also left family and friends to join up and fight in the war against the pro-Russian separatists. She enjoys her time at the front risking her life alongside the men from the battalion. (Jonathan Alpeyrie)

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Women Fighters Ukraine 20
Schachtya, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
24 Feb 2015

February 16, 2015, Shchastya, Lugansk Oblast, Ukraine. Anaconda also left family and friends to join up and fight in the war against the pro-Russian separatists. She enjoys her time at the front risking her life alongside the men from the battalion. (Jonathan Alpeyrie)

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Women Fighters Ukraine 22
Schachtya, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
24 Feb 2015

February 16, 2015, Shchastya, Lugansk Oblast, Ukraine. Anaconda also left family and friends to join up and fight in the war against the pro-Russian separatists. She enjoys her time at the front risking her life alongside the men from the battalion. (Jonathan Alpeyrie)

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Women Fighters Ukraine 22
Schachtya, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
24 Feb 2015

February 17, 2015, Starobilsk, Lugansk Oblast, Ukraine. Viktoria was a fighter on the front lines until she was injured. Her commander made her go back away form the fighting to take care of dead soldiers who need proper burial while. Sometimes she has to take care of bodies so badly mauled that a DNA testing is necessary for recognition. (Jonathan Alpeyrie)