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Heavenly photographers. Documentary, naturalist and commercial photographers killed by Russians in the war

Eternal memory to the brave and talented photographers who died documenting the Russian invasion or defending their country with a machine gun instead of a camera.


According to the Institute of Mass Information, in the two years since the start of the full-scale invasion, Russia has killed 70 media workers in Ukraine. Of these, 10 were killed while performing journalistic tasks, 47 were killed as combatants, and 13 were killed as a result of Russian shelling or torture. In the 10 years since the beginning of the Russian-Ukrainian war, between 2014 and 2024, 77 Ukrainian and foreign media workers have been killed, 13 of them while performing journalistic tasks.


As of March 2024, 20 Ukrainian photographers have been killed in the 10 years of the Russian-Ukrainian war. Some were fulfilling an editorial assignment, while others went to the front as volunteers.


Civilian photographers who were killed by Russians: 


Serhiy Nikolayev was a photographer who worked for the Kyiv daily Segodnya. He was killed on February 28, 2015, during a crossfire between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian separatists in the village of Pisky in Donetsk region.  


Igor Gudenko, a photographer and video blogger, disappeared during the shelling of Kharkiv on February 26, 2022. His body was found on February 27. At the beginning of the full-scale invasion, he was documenting Russia's crimes in the suburbs of Kharkiv where the fighting was taking place.


Yevhen Sakun was a photojournalist for LIVE and a correspondent for EFE. He died on March 1, 2022, as a result of a rocket attack on a Kyiv television tower. At the time of the missile attack, the man was passing by. People who were on the street nearby at the time had no chance of survival. Yevhen's burnt body was recognized only thanks to his prescutum.


Viktor Dedov - a videographer and photographer who died in Mariupol on March 11, 2022, as a result of active Russian shelling.


Max Levin - a photojournalist disappeared on March 13, 2022 in the Kyiv region. He was found dead near the village of Huta-Mezhyhirska on April 1. The investigation confirmed that the photojournalist was tortured and executed. His photos were published by the most famous media in the world: Wall Street Journal, TIME, Breaking news Poland, EU AGENDA, World news, Radio Liberty (RFE/RL). Most of his documentary projects are related to the war in Ukraine.


Military photographers who were killed by the Russians:


Viktor Gurniak was a photojournalist, a fighter with the 24th Aidar Territorial Defense Battalion, a Plast member, and a Hero of Ukraine. He died on October 19, 2014, saving wounded soldiers near Shchastia, Luhansk region. Viktor Gurniak always carried the flag of Ukraine with him. At the time of his death, he was holding a blue and yellow flag that was sprinkled with his blood.


Oleksiy Chernyshov was a soldier who accompanied the photographer Max Levin while documenting events in the Kyiv region. They both disappeared on March 13, 2022. Later it turned out that the Russians had killed them. Before joining the Armed Forces, Chernyshov, like Levin, worked as a photojournalist. In 2014, during the Revolution of Dignity, they were both injured.


Yuriy Oliynyk was a cameraman and photographer for Channel 24 from Lviv. He was a soldier of the 24th Separate Mechanized Brigade of the King Danylo Armed Forces of Ukraine, killed on March 23, 2022, in the battles near Popasna, Luhansk region. At the beginning of the full-scale invasion, he already had combat experience: he fought in eastern Ukraine in 2014-2015. Yuriy's biggest hobbies were photography and hiking.


Roman Solonynka is a photographer originally from Zhytomyr who has lived and worked in Kyiv for many years. He is the author of the logos of the Center for ATO Veterans and Their Families - "Poruch". From the first days of the war, Roman joined the Armed Forces of Ukraine. He fought as a member of the 72nd Brigade named after the Black Cossacks. His life was cut short on May 5, 2022, in a battle with the occupiers near the village of Peremoha in the Kharkiv region.


Kostiantyn Kits, a photographer, died on May 17, 2022, near the village of Yakovlivka, Donetsk region. Before the war, he worked as a cameraman and photographer for the Avers TV channel in Lutsk. In 2014-2015, the photographer fought in the east, and when Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine began, he went to the front for the second time.


Roman Zhuk, a photographer, eco-activist, videographer from Mukachevo, one of the founders of the volunteer project Chysto.de, and an Armed Forces soldier, died on May 26, 2022. The life of the junior sergeant of the 128th separate mountain assault brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine ended in battles with the occupiers near Orikhiv in Zaporizhzhia.


Oleksandr Popovskyi, a photographer from Zhmerynka, died on February 19, 2023, defending his homeland near Vuhledar. From October 2021, he served in the 59th Separate Motorized Infantry Brigade named after Yakiv Handziuk, and was a squad leader. Before joining the war, the man was engaged in commercial photography.


Mykola Anatskyi, a photographer for the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, died on January 18, 2023, in a plane crash in Brovary, Kyiv region. There were nine people on board with him, all of whom died. Mykola Anatskyi was from Bakhmut, participated in the ATO and liberated Kyiv region during the full-scale invasion.


Maksym Burda, a 25-year-old photographer from Kovel, defended Ukraine as part of the 3rd Separate Assault Brigade, where he operated a drone. He died on January 26, 2023 near Bakhmut.


Volodymyr Mukan was a 35-year-old photographer, journalist, PR specialist, and junior lieutenant of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. He died on April 29, 2023, while performing a combat mission in Bakhmut. After his death, an exhibition of his photographs titled "Moments of War" was presented in Cherkasy, which included photos Volodymyr took as a soldier.


Denys Kryvyi was a naturalist photographer, author of numerous photo publications in the media, and a member of the Special Operations Forces. He was killed in the battle for Bakhmut on May 11, 2023. Denys Kryvyi was published in National Geographic. He has also been awarded the FIAP International Prize, the most prestigious photography competition in Europe.


Roman Chornomaz was a photographer and journalist from Uman, a sniper with the Svoboda Battalion of the National Guard of Ukraine, who died in a battle in the Bakhmut area on June 13, 2023. Prior to joining the National Guard, Roman Chornomaz worked as a photojournalist in Kyiv, in particular, documenting the events of the Revolution of Dignity on the Maidan.


Ihor Radchenko was a photographer from Horishni Plavni who made still lifes and portraits. He died on July 17, 2023, during an artillery shelling near the village of Mala Tokmachka, Zaporizhzhia region. The man had the rank of senior lieutenant and was 48 years old.


Maksym Shvartsman, a videographer and photojournalist for Chernivtsi media, died on July 15, 2023, in the Bakhmut sector. He was a volunteer, serving in the 92nd Battalion of the 107th Brigade of the Chernivtsi Tank Corps.


Volodymyr Myroniuk, a photographer and volunteer soldier from Los Angeles, died at the front on September 25, 2023. He was 59 years old. Myroniuk made his last and most risky photo report in the battle near Kurdiumivka, Bakhmut district, Donetsk region.


Maksym Kryvtsov was a poet and photographer from Rivne. He died on January 7, 2024, in the Kupiansk sector. He went to war as a volunteer and was a soldier of the Special Operations Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. In 2023, he published his own collection of poetry, Poems from the Loophole, which was recognized as one of the best Ukrainian books of 2023 by PEN Ukraine. After Maksym's death, an exhibition of his photographs taken during the war was presented.


Ihor Kalugin was a photographer originally from Kremenchuk. Russian soldiers killed him in a battle near the village of Tabaivka, Kupiansk district, Kharkiv region, on January 23, 2024. Before the war, he was fond of photography, in particular, he photographed weddings.


Unfortunately, the Russian-Ukrainian war is still ongoing, and the list of killed photographers may be updated...


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