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A city that wakes up from explosions. The consequences of the shelling of Mykolaiv in the photos of Serhiy Korovainyi

The occupation army launched an artillery attack on Mykolaiv. July 22, 2022. Photo by Serhiy Korovainyi

Since the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion, Mykolaiv has become one of the hottest spots in the Ukrainian south. Residents of Mykolaiv wake up to explosions almost every day. Rocket attacks also continue in the evening. In 2019, Mykolaiv chose the slogan "City on the Wave". During the full-blown Russian-Ukrainian war, Mykolaiv became a city that never sleeps.

Today, the Ukrainian Association of Professional Photographers publishes photos by Serhiy Korovainyi, who captured the aftermath of the rocket attack on Mykolaiv in late July.

"Happy because I survived"

In the summer of 2022, the Russian military shelled the city of Mykolaiv almost every day. Local residents would wake up to the sounds of alarms and explosions, and in the evening it would continue. From the time of the full-scale Russian invasion until July 2022, more than 500 attacks were recorded in Mykolaiv region, of which more than a hundred occurred in the city and its suburbs. The shelling was carried out using artillery and multiple rocket launcher systems.

A bus is on fire after an artillery strike on Mykolaiv. July 22, 2022. Photo by Serhiy Korovainyi

The summer of 2022 was very difficult for Mykolaiv. Literally every night, around three or four o'clock, the city was shelled. Photographer Serhii Korovainyi and his colleagues spent a week in the city and documented the consequences of Russian shelling of Mykolaiv.

Consequences of an enemy attack in Mykolaiv. July 22, 2022. Photo by Serhii Korovainyi

"I went to bed and knew that in the middle of the night you would either be woken up by loud explosions or a bomb would come right for you. This fact cannot be denied, and it was very unnerving," says Serhiy Korovainyi. "We were in the city for only a few days, filmed and left. Instead, the locals lived with this all the time, and against the backdrop of a lack of fresh water and other problems." The daily shelling stopped with the liberation of Kherson, when the Ukrainian Armed Forces pushed the Russian military further away from Mykolaiv.

People at the site of the attack in Mykolaiv. July 22, 2022. Photo by Serhiy Korovainyi

One of the attacks on July 22 took place in the late afternoon, on the outskirts of the city, which is closer to the front line. "We saw explosions and smoke, got the address from the local SES office and went to film," Korovainyi recalls. "There were several 'hits': a bus stop, a residential building, and a school. No one was killed that night, but many people were injured and covered in blood. "I filmed one guy who had been under rocket attack by the Russian military twice in the last 48 hours. He received minor injuries and considers himself lucky. It's amazing how much we are used to living under fire," says Serhiy Korovainyi.

A view of the scene of an enemy attack in Mykolaiv. July 22, 2022. Photo by Serhiy Korovainyi


Sergiy Korovainy is a Ukrainian documentary photographer who actively covers the events of the Russian-Ukrainian war. He collaborates with international publications, including the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, The Guardian, Financial Times, and others. In his projects, he focuses on the Russian-Ukrainian war, ecology, and various aspects of Ukrainian modernity. He studied in the United States at the Master's Program in Visual Storytelling as a Fulbright Scholar. In 2018, he joined The Gate, a leading Ukrainian photo agency. Sergiy's work has been exhibited at numerous solo and group exhibitions in Ukraine, the US and the EU.

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As a reminder, the Ukrainian Association of Professional Photographers has launched a series of materials dedicated to the key events of the Russian war against Ukraine, where it publishes memoirs and photographs of Ukrainian documentary photographers.

The project is being implemented thanks to the support of ЗМІN.


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