It is a struggle that lasted more than seven years and claimed Around 14,000 lives. Since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, there has been no solution. The fear of all-out war in Ukraine is always on the front lines.
Photographer Sandro Maddalena, who has followed the war from its inception, noticed a shift: The rallies and celebrations praising the return of Ukrainian troops faded away. Now the veterans are left to fend for themselves.
“After seven years, many people are very tired and bored,” Maddalena told The Washington Post. “In Europe, not many people talk about the conflict. And in Ukraine, not many people talk about the conflict. Veterans in people’s eyes are losing appeal.”
His project, “The Ukrainian Nostoye,” which focuses on the ancient Greek concept of the returning warrior, documents how veterans deal with returning to an unwelcome society. In 2020, the United Nations have found Nearly half of the nearly 400,000 Ukrainian veterans who returned “experience prejudice and abuse in their daily lives, with a third feeling excluded from society”
The burden of addressing these issues often falls on the veterans themselves. Maddalena met ex-combatants who started rehabilitation centers to help others cope with the trauma of war. But the road to recovery is never straight.
Maddalena writes in his book “Most Veterans Attend Rehabilitation Courses to Overcome PTSD” Describe from the project. Some of them, in addition to psychological trauma, have to face a new life with serious physical disabilities. It is an unprecedented situation in the history of Ukraine.”
While therapy is an indispensable step, true reintegration has been found to take place “through the practices of daily living. Sports and music play an essential role, as [does] social obligation.”
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