Reportage and Documentary
Ingmar Björn Nolting and Fabian Ritter
The Antechamber of War in Ukraine
Our photo essay „The Antechamber of War in Ukraine“ is a visual journey through the region of Lviv, located in Western Ukraine, after the beginning of the large-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022. Since then, the city has become a crucible of preparations for war and refugee movement. The situation in the city is tense as fears of further Russian attacks grow. Some see the city in grave danger; Lviv is the cherry on the cake of Putin‘s invasion, they say.
With the beginning of the large-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2023, everyday life, routines and priorities changed even in the west of the country, which until now had been largely spared. The initial shock of the invasion turned into a new daily routine; an ever-worsening war is a condition to which one cannot get used.
In Lviv, 470 kilometers from Kyiv, a major city otherwise known for its Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, became an antechamber of war in recent weeks. As Russian attacks continue to grow more brutal further east and more civilian infrastructure is attacked, hundreds of thousands of refugees crowd into the city. At the same time, resistance to the Russian invasion is forming in Lviv. Civilians arm themselves, the city takes protective measures, and relief supplies are sent to the front lines. Lviv became a crucible of war preparations and solidarity.
Fears of Russian attacks in the city are growing. Especially since a military training center was hit by a Russian missile attack early in the morning of March 13 about 40 kilometers outside the city. According to Ukrainian authorities, 30 missiles were fired at the base, killing 35 people and injuring 134.
On the morning of March 18, the Lviv airport was shelled. According to preliminary information, the area was hit by four Russian cruise missiles fired from several hundred kilometers away from the Black Sea, according to the Ukrainian Air Force.
Some see the city in grave danger; Lviv is the cherry on the cake of Putin's invasion, they say. "Lviv will remain safe, every square meter here will be defended," says Andrii, 23, who has donated savings to the Ukrainian military. "What good is money to me if there is no freedom?“