New York Times photographers were on the ground in Ukraine even before Russia invaded in February 2022. Over the course of the year, they have documented every aspect of the conflict that journalistic effort could reach: drone bases and sites of atrocity, packed subways and deserted villages, funerals and joyful crowds, missile paths and refugee routes, front lines and wrecked living rooms.
Some of those scenes are below. But this selection does not try to be comprehensive. The Times already has a rolling chronicle of photography of the war in Ukraine, updated regularly.
Here, instead, 14 photographers who have worked in Ukraine for The Times each answer the same two questions: What image has stayed with you from your coverage of the first year of the war, and why?
This gallery contains graphic images. The photographs are ordered for variety of style and subject. Some of those pictured asked to be identified only by their first name, out of concern for their safety.
Fastiv, February 2022
This was the second day of the full-scale invasion. I had come across a list online of addresses where weapons would be handed out to volunteers, and in the process of evacuating my own family from Kyiv, I decided to stop at one nearby and see what was happening.
A bit surprisingly, we were welcomed inside the compound, which was thronged with military-age men. Almost immediately a jet roared overhead. No one knew if it was Ukrainian or Russian, but our location was clearly a juicy target. Everyone hit the ground, hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. I looked at my pregnant wife and felt terrible for bringing her there.
Luckily, the jet was Ukrainian, and everyone stood back up with a nervous chuckle, hearts still pounding. We went inside, and I was able to make this picture.
— Brendan Hoffman
Death and the echo
This is Yablunska Street, which became the deadliest place for civilians in Bucha, a suburb of Kyiv, during its month of brutal Russian occupation. The body in the foreground, residents told us, was a civilian, Oleksandr, killed by Russian soldiers while walking down the street with his wife. They also said that the Russians had not allowed anyone to move him; he had been lying dead on the street for more than two weeks by the time we visited, shortly after Ukraine retook control of the town.
The woman walking toward him with the stick, though I didn’t know her name then, is called Maria, and after we encountered her again by chance a month later, she invited us into her home. She said she had been afraid even to look out into the street while the Russians were there. She also told us some of her family history. She was 73, and her mother had survived the Holodomor, the famine engineered by Stalin in the early 1930s that killed millions of Ukrainians. Of her mother’s 11 brothers and sisters, she said, eight had ended up buried in the family’s backyard in rural southern Ukraine.
— Daniel Berehulak
Crowded into battle
Bakhmut, in the eastern Donbas region, began last year as the home of about 70,000 people. Over the year of war, I’ve watched the fighting chew this city apart, as both sides have thrown masses of troops and weaponry into desperate attempts to control it.
In the earlier months, it was always tense, but there were still civilians on the streets; Ukrainians, particularly in the east, have learned to live in the shadow of war. On this visit, it had reached a clear turning point in its militarization.
This armored vehicle passed me as I was leaving a military hospital, and the faces of the soldiers seemed to represent what has taken shape in the city’s shell: a relentless determination to fight.
— Tyler Hicks
Friendship among the wreckage
This is Volodymyr Tarasov trying to get in touch with a friend from his partly destroyed living room in Kramatorsk, a city in Donetsk Province that was coming under daily bombardment as Russian forces tried to extend their grip on the Donbas region. He was 66, a retired engineer who had lived his entire life in the same apartment, and he said he had been drinking tea near the window in his kitchen at lunchtime when a missile landed in the courtyard of his apartment building.
It was a hot, sunny day, and the quiet was profound: I remember the sound of feet crunching over broken glass in the apartment, and of bird song from the trees outside.
His calm, in the face of wounds from the shards of glass, and the dried blood over his body, dressed only in his underwear and slippers, remains with me today.
— Mauricio Lima
Witness on the threshold
When this neighborhood near the port of Kherson in southern Ukraine came under attack a few weeks after Russian forces had fled, I was part of a reporting team in the city and we got there as fast as we could. We arrived as homes were still blazing, and this man was lying, covered, in the doorway where he died.
His name was Dmytro Dudnyk, and when the rockets struck, he had just brought his mother-in-law a chocolate bar to share after lunch.
When his parents arrived, his mother began screaming “Why? Why?” inconsolably. His father, Viktor, saw me at the entrance to their yard — I’d been invited in by the mother-in-law — and rushed toward me. I lowered my arms, expecting blows.
Instead, he allowed me to console him.
— David Guttenfelder
Palanca, Moldova, march
A young life packed up in pink
She stood there motionless, just beyond Ukraine’s border with Moldova, her eyes absent in the midst of the distress. Swaddled in her pink leopard-print shawl, pink like the bag or the jackets next to her, pink like her beanie, pink probably like her life was.
She was the same age as my nephews — around 10 — and she probably had the same carefree attitude until this moment when she had to leave almost everything behind. The invasion had begun a few days before, and tens of thousands of people had already fled; her family had set out from Odesa with no clear final destination. Her gaze has stayed with me for a long time. I wonder where she is, how she’s doing — if her smile is back on her beautiful face.
— Laetitia Vancon
A shelter and a comfort
I took this image of Sister Diogena Tereshkevych in April on my first day of Ukraine coverage. Lviv, in western Ukraine, was far from the front lines, but the mostly women and children who were huddled in the underground shelter during an air-raid alert had fled from regions that had been heavily bombarded by Russian forces. Sister Tereshkevych tried to calm them with stories, but the moment highlighted the reality — no matter where people were in Ukraine, the violence of the war could still reach them.
— Finbarr O’Reilly
Before the smoke cleared
This woman was looking on in disbelief, talking quietly to herself amid the destruction after a strike on a residential complex in Zaporizhzhia, in southeastern Ukraine. It was an overcast autumn morning, with a cold wind that would quickly shift the direction of the smoke blowing from the building.
Our team had set out to the city to cover a strike that hit the previous day, but as we were driving there, alerts kept coming in: Russia had launched a wave of missiles into almost a dozen cities. Though we didn’t know it yet, it was the start of a horrible new phase of the war for Ukrainian civilians, one in which urban life and infrastructure across the country would become regular targets.
The woman was trying so hard to process what had happened, but I think her expression just says it all: What she’s trying to understand is beyond reason.
— Nicole Tung
A moment of horror
In war, anything can change in a moment. Leading up to this photograph, mothers were running with their children from the Irpin bridge across my viewfinder toward the relative safety of Kyiv. Mortar rounds were coming in, urgency was in everyone’s step. Pink and blue puffy coats passed with rolling luggage. Surely the Russians wouldn’t target a civilian evacuation route?
But each round came a little closer, bracketing onto desperate people fleeing for their lives. And then I saw a flash, heard the crash and felt the impact from a wave of air being compressed in an explosion that smashed into our bodies as we dived for cover.
The aftermath will stay with me forever. When we stood up, my neck was sprayed with gravel. I asked my colleague Andriy if I was bleeding. “No,” he said. It was dusty and chaotic. We couldn’t see across to the other side of the street, so we didn’t know that a mother, her two children and a church volunteer had been killed. Somehow, we had been spared.
— Lynsey Addario
One funeral among so many
The young girl with the pink flowers is Darynka, 8, at the funeral of her father, Yurii Huk, who was killed in eastern Ukraine during a heavy artillery bombardment. Lviv has witnessed hundreds of funerals since the beginning of the war — the city of the soldiers who will never return to the front.
Darynka was surrounded by family — that’s a cousin with a hand on her shoulder — but who could explain this war to her? How long will she carry its deep scars?
— Diego Ibarra Sanchez
A desperate departure
Even in late spring, Bakhmut was a town on the front line, in the cross hairs of Russia’s advance in the Donbas region. I spent some time following a group of volunteers who were helping to evacuate sick, vulnerable and older civilians.
Zinaida Riabtseva, who was blind and frail, stood out. Once she was on her journey to safety, she was positive and even cheery, but the terror on her face as she was carried down from her fifth-floor apartment gave me a glimpse of how it must feel to be a vulnerable person in a place like Bakhmut.
— Ivor Prickett
Nap time is over
I took this image as part of a photo essay about how Ukrainian children bear the burden of war. I visited the Uniclub center in Kyiv for a couple of days. The center offers a kindergarten, a summer camp and a gym, and families who have had to flee to other parts of Ukraine can attend at no cost.
I had taken photographs of the children during nap time and then returned two hours later to take pictures of them playing. That’s when 4-year-old Sviatoslav refused to wake up to join his classmates. He melted my heart.
— Laura Boushnak
Counting the days
Soledar is a salt-mining town in the Donbas region, a stone’s throw from the heavily fought-over city of Bakhmut. You’d think this speck on the map would have little strategic significance, but the sheer amount of ammunition spent there suggest otherwise. When I went in with volunteers as part of a Times reporting team, we witnessed a town being leveled by two warring nations. Cluster munitions, rockets, self-propelled artillery, even fighter jets overhead.
But what struck me were the civilians who were still there. They all had this bewildered look. Without words, their eyes told a story of trauma.
Some had found themselves stuck. Others had decided to stay, whether it was out of love for their home or because of political convictions, including the couple who kept this tally. We encountered them while attached to a team helping civilians evacuate. The team pleaded with them, but they did not want to leave — even while buildings nearby were on fire, and when their own apartment building was damaged by shrapnel.
I briefly went into the basement they used as a shelter. It was very dark, and it was only when my eyes had adjusted that I saw the chalk marks on the wall.
— Jim Huylebroek
Far away from the front lines, Lviv has remained relatively peaceful, a place of refuge for those fleeing the fighting in the east.
Families from all over Ukraine meet on the city’s streets, in its parks and cafes. But when I came across a man selling balloons in a central square in Lviv, the nightly curfew was just about to set in, emptying the streets. He seemed a sign both of how distant the war was, and how present.
— Emile Ducke