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The Ukrainian Army's Drone Unit
Pisky
By Yves Choquette
14 Apr 2015

On the 5th of April 2014, we visited a drone camp of the Ukrainian army, situated around 2 kilometres from the front line in Pisky. To spot the enemy (pro-Russian separatists in the Donbass), this special unit counts on drones built by volunteers in a secret base in Dnipropetrovsk. This is the first time that the Ukrainian army accepts that a civillian films their drone operations. Even still, access to sensitive areas of their operations was denied for matters of security. Without the drone, it would be almost impossible for the UKR to pinpoint enemy positions. A serious lack of resources has the Ukrainian army relying on volunteers to operate and maintain this technology, including supplying spare parts and repairing the units.

ARTICLE AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST

ARTICLE DISPONIBLE SUR DEMANDE

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Easter Celebration in conflict Zone I...
Kramatorsk, Ukraine
By Andrey Samerkhanov
14 Apr 2015

Liberated Kramatorsk residents celebrate Easter during an open air event.
Kramatorsk is still in the conflict zone in Ukraine and just to remind the city was heavily shelled with Russian MRLS BM9K58 Tornado by Russian mercenaries just two month ago during another day (on Feb 10 2015).
More materials: http://empr.media/news/kramatorsk-shelled-with-russian-missiles-1-civilian-killed-6-wounded
http://empr.media/video/conflict-zone/shelling-of-kramatorsk-by-russian-tornado-missiles
http://empr.media/video/conflict-zone/kramatorsk-shelled-by-russian-tornado-missiles
http://empr.media/video/conflict-zone/unexploded-russian-tornado-missile-at-kids-playground-in-kramatorsk
https://youtu.be/SFFFL36NKb4
Young and old people now are tired from warfare during a year of Russian military invasion into Ukraine and are glad to celebrate the spring coming.
Full English description and sound bites translation will be provided after request.

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Easter presents from volunteers for U...
Kramatorsk
By Andrey Samerkhanov
12 Apr 2015

Ukrainian volunteers bring homemade made Easter presents to Ukrainian border guards in Kramatorsk.

Full English description and sound bites translation will be provided after request.

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Colonel Claude Mademba
Nimes
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
08 Apr 2015

Colonel Mademba fought in North Africa and Italy with British and French forces as an infantryman against German forces.

"On May 5th 1945, I fired my last shell from my Sherman tank at Hitler's Berghof complex," he said.

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Lahcen Majid
Saint Remi
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
08 Apr 2015

Lahcen Majid fought as an infantrymen in Italy as part of a Moroccan outfit attached to Free French forces, against the German army.

"On May 11th 1944, right before the last major push for Monte Cassino, I saw the entire countryside light up with an artillery barrage," he said. "By 2:00 a.m. hundreds of Allied soldiers were already arriving at our hospital to be treated."

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Joel D. Pasado
Los Angeles, CA
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
08 Apr 2015

Joel D. Pasado was a rebel fighter in the Philippines against Japanese forces.

"We surrounded the hospital," he said. "The defenders fought hard, as they had to fight room to room throwing grenades and using bayonets. On one occasion I stormed a room filled with Japanese soldiers. One tried to stab me, but was shot by one of my soldiers and was killed. He saved my life."

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Portrait of a Generation: WWII Vetera...
New York City, NY
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
07 Apr 2015

The Second World War was fought by an entire generation of men from more than 60 nations. Americans, Canadians, Russian, British, Chinese, South Africans and many others fought the Japanese, Spaniards, Italians, Germans, Slovaks and more, all were embroiled in a war which killed over 50 millions soldiers and civilians alike, making this conflict the bloodiest in Human history. The 1921/22-generation is today often known as a sacrificed generation, which fought for a various array of beliefs all intertwined in self-sacrifice and honor. In Germany alone 5.2 million soldiers were killed or missing in battle in a six-year period, Japan lost over 2 million men in combat, while the United States suffered 409 thousand men killed in action. However Russia holds the morbid record, with more than 10 million killed between 1941 and 1945. These astounding numbers show the brutality in which this war was fought in the air, on land and in the seas.

As a journalist, always in search for a certain historical truth within today’s framework, the stories of each of these men interviewed and photographed is a treasure of human perseverance. The project contains no pretense to judge or criticize the actions or decisions taken by these men, but it is rather a recollection of a period drastically different from ours. Their testimony is relevant in a historical sense, which should not be lost in time, as the next generations to come can and should learn from this generation.

The project itself differs from other veteran type shoots, in the sense that it tries to combine so many different nationalities. This combination was hard to achieve. It took no less than 5 years and travels to over 12 countries to meet, photograph, and interview these men. As a photojournalist, it was not only the photo shoot that was interesting, but also the search to meet these veterans, especially the ex Waffen SS and the foreign elements who fought within its ranks; and the more obscure nationalities who fought alongside major powers, like Croatians or Senegalese.

The photography project deals with as many nationalities as possible, for the simple reason that many nations were involved in the fighting. So far I have photographed Germans, Russians, Armenians, Karabastis, French, Belgium, Poles, Americans, Nepalese, Croatian, Czechs, Latvians, Japanese Americans, Pilipino, Hungarians and more…, which includes 221 men from 59 different nationalities.  Each man is interviewed on his experience through out the war. The goal of this project is to reunite as many veterans as possible from most of the nations involved in the Second World War.

FULL ARTICLE AND INTERVIEWS AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST

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Krosnogorovka, Ukraine: The Making of...
Krosnogorovka
By Yves Choquette
06 Apr 2015

On April 6 2015, we visited Krasnogorovka with the help of Pastor Vladimir Ivanov, director of the NGO Good News Church. We saw the evident beginning of a serious humanitarian crisis. Since the conflict in Ukraine has destroyed vital infrastructure, many residents now live in unhealthy conditions, surround by mountains of rubbish, with a deficient water system, no windows or electricity.

 Krasnogorovka is a small suburb of the separatist-controlled city of Donetsk, still controlled by the Ukrainian army. When the city is calm, the population living on the limits of town must remain aware of the presence of snipers only 800 meters away in the separatist zone. Pastor Ivanov goes to Krasnogorovka to bring food, clothes, and a little candy for the kids living in a city that has been left to itself. We saw elderly people starving from having not eat for several days. I even spoke to a mother of three children who has absolutely no income beside the humanitarian aids that the Pastor and other donors are bringing to the town. The photos of this reportage show the living conditions of a population who have already suffered from a war whose end is difficult to predict, and continue to suffer its consequences.

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Krosnogorovka 14
Pisky, Donetsk Oblast
By Yves Choquette
06 Apr 2015

A woman from the community is making a petition to be sent to the president explaining the situation and that something must be done now.

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Krosnogorovka 15
Pisky, Donetsk Oblast
By Yves Choquette
06 Apr 2015

The elderly are among the most at-risk and feel desperate about situation in Krasnogorovka.

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Krosnogorovka 16
Pisky, Donetsk Oblast
By Yves Choquette
06 Apr 2015

Another consequence of the war. People look into rubbish bins for basic wares like toys for kids, lamps, etc...

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Krosnogorovka 17
Pisky, Donetsk Oblast
By Yves Choquette
06 Apr 2015

it is extremely hard to find a building in good condition in Krasnogorovka. Most of them are in terrible condition like this one, damaged in fighting.

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Krosnogorovka 18
Pisky, Donetsk Oblast
By Yves Choquette
06 Apr 2015

A crater from a mortar shell is a reminder of the recent fighting in Krasnogorovka.

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Krosnogorovka 19
Pisky, Donetsk Oblast
By Yves Choquette
06 Apr 2015

It is still cold in the city, and many buildings no longer have windows to help keep in the heat.

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Krosnogorovka 20
Pisky, Donetsk Oblast
By Yves Choquette
06 Apr 2015

Rubbish strewn about the streets leaves an awful odor in the air, and poses the risk of spreading disease if nothing is done before the arrival of summer.

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Krosnogorovka 21
Pisky, Donetsk Oblast
By Yves Choquette
06 Apr 2015

A man still live in his nearly-demolished building.

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Krosnogorovka 22
Pisky, Donetsk Oblast
By Yves Choquette
06 Apr 2015

As the city dump is an open field, the wind constantly carries plastic bags into tree branches. The area could face an environmental catastrophe in a near future.

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Krosnogorovka 23
Pisky, Donetsk Oblast
By Yves Choquette
06 Apr 2015

The city dump in Krasnogorovka is all but abandoned, with only small amount of employees coming occasionally to burn rubbish.

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Krosnogorovka 24
Pisky, Donetsk Oblast
By Yves Choquette
06 Apr 2015

Workers from the city dump refuse to be interviewed.

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Krosnogorovka 01
Krosnogorovka, Donetsk Oblast
By Yves Choquette
06 Apr 2015

As we were heading for Krasnogorovka by the main road, we had a bad surpise. The day before, pro-Russian separatists dynamited the bridge in an attempt to isolate the city from the Ukrainian army.

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Krosnogorovka 02
Pisky, Donetsk Oblast
By Yves Choquette
06 Apr 2015

A young volunteer at the local protestant church (left) makes free tea for the population. It is still very cold in the morning in Krasnogorovka.

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Krosnogorovka 03
Pisky, Donetsk Oblast
By Yves Choquette
06 Apr 2015

Pastor Ivanov distributes cookies and chocolate to children coming for his visit.

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Krosnogorovka 04
Pisky, Donetsk Oblast
By Yves Choquette
06 Apr 2015

The Kovcheg Protestant church remains unfinished, and now serves as a shelter for the population of Krosnogorovka.

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Krosnogorovka 05
Pisky, Donetsk Oblast
By Yves Choquette
06 Apr 2015

Pastor Vladimir Priadka of the Kovcheg Protestant church (left) poses in Krasnogorovka with pastor Ivanov.

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Krosnogorovka 06
Pisky, Donetsk Oblast
By Yves Choquette
06 Apr 2015

Clothes that pastor Ivanov and others brought, are stocked in one room of the church and are distributed to the local population.

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Krosnogorovka 07
Pisky, Donetsk Oblast
By Yves Choquette
06 Apr 2015

Volunteers help to prepare the hundreds of meals that they are going to serve that day.

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Krosnogorovka 08
Pisky, Donetsk Oblast
By Yves Choquette
06 Apr 2015

Several old woman were present at the shelter, alone and often silently crying.

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Krosnogorovka 09
Pisky, Donetsk Oblast
By Yves Choquette
06 Apr 2015

Up to 40 people at a time can sit around the table inside the church.

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Krosnogorovka 10
Pisky, Donetsk Oblast
By Yves Choquette
06 Apr 2015

Children enjoy what are probably their only real meals for a while, until another generous donor comes with more food.

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Krosnogorovka 11
Pisky, Donetsk Oblast
By Yves Choquette
06 Apr 2015

The community center of Krasnogorovka also serve as a shelter.

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Krosnogorovka 12
Pisky, Donetsk Oblast
By Yves Choquette
06 Apr 2015

Serenka, 72, lives in anguish, hoping for help. Like most elderly people in the region, she doesn't receive a pension. She relies only on humanitarian aid for food and clothes.

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Krosnogorovka 13
Pisky, Donetsk Oblast
By Yves Choquette
06 Apr 2015

The elderly were quick to explain their complaints and fears. many of them have lived on one meal per day for weeks now.

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Drone Ukraine 01
Pisky, Donetsk Oblast
By Yves Choquette
05 Apr 2015

On the walk to the drone field, the commander told us to not step outside his footprints in case of land mines.

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Drone Ukraine 02
Pisky, Donetsk Oblast
By Yves Choquette
05 Apr 2015

On our way to the drone field, the commander thought he saw the fuse of a land mine, but luckily for us, it was not.

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Drone Ukraine 04
Pisky, Donetsk Oblast
By Yves Choquette
05 Apr 2015

Drone teams rely on a multitude of spare parts from used equipment, as the Ukrainian army doesn't supply them with any new parts to repair the drone.

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Drone Ukraine 05
Pisky, Donetsk Oblast
By Yves Choquette
05 Apr 2015

The commander helps the drone take off by throwing it in the air.

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Drone Ukraine 06
Pisky, Donetsk Oblast
By Yves Choquette
05 Apr 2015

The commander watches his drone as it flies over the separatist area.

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Drone Ukraine 07
Pisky, Donetsk Oblast
By Yves Choquette
05 Apr 2015

The drone flies its reconnaissance mission to locate the position of pro-Russian militants.

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Drone Ukraine 08
Pisky, Donetsk Oblast
By Yves Choquette
05 Apr 2015

A soldier watches as the drone arrives back from its mission over the enemy position and prepares to land.