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Destroyed monuments and burned equipment. Liberated Trostianets in the photos of Oleh Pereverziev

The liberated Trosianets prisoner at the end of March 2022. Photo by Oleh Pereverziev

The Russian army seized the town of Trostianets, Sumy region, at the beginning of the full-scale invasion on March 1, 2022. The Ukrainian Defense Forces liberated the city from the Russian military less than a month later, on March 26.

Today, the Ukrainian Association of Professional Photographers is publishing photos by Oleh Pereverziev taken in the spring of 2022 in Trostianets. The photographer was one of the first to arrive in the liberated city and capture the consequences of the Russian occupation.

The occupation of Trostianets

On the evening of February 24, a convoy of Russian military vehicles stopped on the outskirts of Trostianets. The city is located only 30 kilometers from the border with Russia. In the first evening, the Russian army fired on the Trostyanets District Museum of Local Lore, which is an architectural monument. According to locals, the Russian military shot at anything that looked good to them.

On the morning of February 25, fighting broke out in Trostyanets and neighboring Okhtyrka. The Ukrainian military blew up a bridge across the Vorskla River to prevent Russian troops from advancing along the Sumy-Poltava highway. The next day, Ukrainian artillery destroyed a column of Russian vehicles that was moving around the destroyed bridge. However, on February 28, a column of Russian military equipment entered Trostyanets from the city of Lebedyn and occupied the Smorodyne railway station.

The destroyed Pryvokzalna Square in Trosyatnka. Russian troops were based here. March 2022. Photo by Oleh Peverziev

The next day, on March 1, 2022, the Russian army entered Trostianets in three columns and completely occupied the town. The Russian military demolished the gate to the Round Court with a tank and smashed the art gallery. Almost all power lines and roads were damaged in the city, the Internet was cut off, and television and radio were not broadcast. The Russian army deployed military equipment in residential areas of the city and the residents of Trostyanets were effectively taken hostage.

In March, Russian soldiers looted shops and destroyed offices. Civilians were killed during the occupation of the city. For example, on the night of March 8-9, Russian artillery shelled the former Elektrobutprylad plant. Three people were killed, including a 13-year-old boy. There was no heating, water or food in the city. People used wells to collect water. Schools, kindergartens, and a local restaurateur baked bread and distributed it to people for free. In early March, it was impossible to leave Trostianets because there were no evacuation corridors. The "green corridors" started operating on March 10.

Destroyed Russian military equipment in Trostianets, Sumy region. End of March 2022. Photo by Oleh Peverziev

Without alarm

On the night of March 16, soldiers of the 93rd Separate Mechanized Brigade "Kholodnyi Yar" managed to destroy a howitzer division of Russian troops stationed at the railway station in Trostianets. On March 18, Ukrainian troops destroyed a column of enemy vehicles near Trostyanets. The convoy included a T-80UM2 Black Eagle research tank, which was in service with the Russian Federation in only one copy. Late in the evening of March 22, fighting and artillery shelling began in Trostyanets, and a large-scale fire broke out in the town. The city had been without water, electricity and the ability to deliver medicines for almost a month.

Intense fighting for the liberation of Trostyanets began on March 25. On March 26, Ukrainian troops of the 93rd Separate Mechanized Brigade "Kholodnyi Yar" liberated the city of Trostyanets from the Russian army. The city suffered significant losses and destruction. The Russian military mined many civilian objects.

Photographer Oleh Pereverziev arrived in Trostyanets the day after the city was liberated and filmed there on March 28-29. By this time, he had been in Kharkiv for almost a week. In the early days, it was difficult to get to Trostianets. The bridge over the Vorskla River near the village of Klymentove was damaged, and the pontoon crossing was not passable for the photographer's car. "We took a detour from Okhtyrka to Trostyanets, through the surrounding villages, following a minibus of volunteers carrying humanitarian aid," Oleh Pereverziev recalls.

Boxes of Russian ammunition on the station square in Trostianets. Photo by Oleh Peverziev

At the entrance, the town seemed intact. Traces of destruction began to appear closer to the station square. There was damaged and burned military equipment on the square and near the station, and many buildings were destroyed. A large trench blocked the passage to the train station. It was from there that journalists who came to the city started their work.

Damaged railroad cars at the Trostianets railway station. March 2022. Photo by Oleh Peverziev

"Despite the significant destruction, there was no sense of danger and anxiety that I felt a few days earlier in Saltivka, Kharkiv, or later in Borodyanka," says Oleh Pereverziev, "Although I was one of the few photographers who got to Trostianets immediately after it was liberated, I believe I took very few pictures. There was no cell phone service in the city and I had to be close to my car in case of an emergency. It was difficult to focus on shooting when I had to keep an eye on the photographers who came with me and periodically return to the car." Oleh Pereverziev helped photographers Maxim Dondyuk and James Nachtwey with transportation.

Heavily damaged city. March 2022. Photo by Oleh Peverziev


Oleg Pereverziev is a Ukrainian documentary photographer. He has been published in Ukrainer and many other publications.

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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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