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Fighting war away from country

Harshad Jadhav | Massachusetts, United States

Nika Chelnokova, 20, is on the rooftop of her apartment in Boston on a warm Friday evening of April 22, 2022. Chelnokova is from Kyiv, Ukraine, and is a junior at Suffolk University majoring in Marketing.

This is the story of Nika Chelnokova, 20, a Suffolk University junior, and Artem Dinh, a junior at Tufts University. Chelnokova is from Kiyv, Ukraine, while Dinh is a Vietnamese Ukrainian and lived in Berdychiv, Ukraine on his maternal side nearly every summer.

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On the evening of Feb. 23, 2022, in Boston, Chelnokova was casually watching a movie with her roommate when she heard the news of a bombing in her hometown Kyiv, Ukraine. Apparently panicked and shaking, she called her parents to check on them. They were unharmed and moved to a different city later, supposedly further away from the targeted cities.

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Dinh, a geopolitics enthusiast, was not expecting a war on Ukraine as he did not see the Russian media ready for the war. Dinh had an internship for the vacation period, but he decided to drop the opportunity due to the war.

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Both Chelnokova and Dinh feel a responsibility toward Ukraine and connected to Ukrainians in and around Boston to organize various events. They participated in and organized rallies, demonstrations, and fundraisers in support of their country.

On Feb. 21, 2022, I was on an assignment for the Day of Solidarity for Ukraine in Boston, where I talked to a couple of Ukrainians who shared their stories with me. Five days later, Russia invaded Ukraine. The Ukrainian community gathered on weekends to show support for their country and help stop Russia.

I went to photograph the events and met Nika and Artem during those events. It later came to my attention that these two, along with some of their comrades, took the initiative and organized these events across the city.

It was fascinating to me that along with their studies and their part-time jobs, they were managing to help and support their country, doing whatever possible within their reach. So, I thought of depicting their work and their emotional struggle through pictures and words.

Email: mailmeasharshad@gmail.com / jadhav.ha@northeastern.edu

Phone: +1 (857) 376-9960

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