Kherson; city harbour. The area on the other side of the river, behind me, is still contested. I later learned that the hard way. Ukrainian flag on the other side of the Dnieper was deceiving. There's an exchange of fire from both sides on daily bases. One day a Russian tank came to take the flag down and fired at the city, one of the shells hit a building next to me.

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Kherson; this is what liberation looks like

Tom Sal | Ukraine

Organization: mvv

  Kherson is a liberated city in Ukraine, it's a harbour in the Dnieper delta, by the Black Sea. It’s almost a deserted city, a ghost town. Those who could already left. There are the elderly, people with disabilities, alcoholics, junkies and those who simply cannot leave left in Kherson. Roughly 15 - 20% of the pre-war population has stayed, no one really knows how many exactly. They heavily depend on humanitarian aid, as there are no jobs in the city, only in remains of the public sector and retail. Kherson has been under constant fire, pretty much every day since the beginning of war in February 2022. It was liberated after nine months of Russian occupation in November. It's a front-line city.

Production: RS

This is my first time in Kherson. Bus and marshrutka (local transport by van) stops are probably the worse, at least for me. You can't really hear what and in which direction is flying over your head, if it's going to hit you or not. All sorts of noises from the street and the traffic can make you paranoid, especially when you’re new in town. Or you just have to learn not to care any more, like locals don't. At least some of them; it's hard to put it in rational terms.

I often work in Ukraine as a cameraman for a news channel, but that's a completely different ball game. In Kherson I lived with an Ukrainian family in a block of flats on the outskirts of the city, rationing food and water, experiencing blackouts and all sorts of communication issues. Listening to everyday orchestra, as the local people call the exchange of artillery fire in the city.

Some names have been changed; 50 mm lens only.

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