A veteran returns home after a demonstration in support of disabled rights in Kiev, Ukraine, on December 7, 2017 (Sandro Maddalena/Parallelozero)
Veterans set up tents near Parliament during anti-government protests in Kiev, November 7, 2017 (Sandro Maddalena/Parallelozero)
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.”
Mykola works on land allocated by the government to war veterans in Lviv, Ukraine, on September 26, 2017. Since returning from the war, Mykola has decided to become a strawberry grower. (Sandro Maddalena / Parallelozero)
A day of exhibitions and conferences dedicated to war veterans and their families in Kiev, May 27, 2017 (Sandro Maddalena / Parallelozero)
A training session for the Invictus Games in Kiev on July 6, 2017. All athletes at the Games are service members or seriously injured veterans. (Sandro Maddalena / Parallelozero)
Onlookers cry during the Independence Day parade of veterans in Kiev, August 24, 2019 (Sandro Maddalena / Parallelozero)
A therapy session at a rehabilitation center in Chernihiv on May 24, 2017. Veterans and soldiers visit the center to receive physical and psychological support. (Sandro Maddalena / Parallelozero)
Veterans take a Bodynamic course, learning how to help other veterans, at the Probratimi Association in Ivano-Frankivsk on June 7, 2017. The Bodynamic method is based on the relationship between the body and disorders. (Sandro Maddalena / Parallelozero)
Yana, founder of the War Doctors’ Battalion that provides assistance to the wounded on the front lines, is pictured in Kiev on August 11, 2018. Yana is paralyzed after a car accident in a war zone. Now she is studying medicine at Dnipro University. (Sandro Maddalena / Parallelozero)
Max, a war doctor, stands in the rain during a short break from the Veterans’ Bodynamic Program in Ivano-Frankivsk, June 7, 2017 (Sandro Maddalena/Parallelozero)
In Sight is the Washington Post’s photography blog for visual narrative. This platform showcases attractive and diverse images from employees, freelance photographers, news agencies, and archives. If you are interested in submitting a story to In Sight, please complete it Who is this.
More on the horizon:
Between Norway and Sweden, two countries that pride themselves on freedom of movement, closed borders separate families
A group of Latin American photographers tell their country’s stories during the pandemic
From VE Day in Paris to Black Market in Berlin: An American Soldier and His Camera in the Aftermath of War