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Ribbons and inscriptions. The "parade" of destroyed Russian equipment on Independence Day in the photographs of Evgeniy Maloletka

A man rides a skateboard among Russian military vehicles on Khreshchatyk Street. August 24, 2022. Photo by Evgeniy Maloletka


The celebration of the 31st anniversary of the restoration of Ukraine's independence took place against the backdrop of a full-scale Russian-Ukrainian war. Due to the threat of missile attacks, all public events were canceled. Instead, destroyed Russian military equipment was displayed in the center of Kyiv on Khreshchatyk. Photographer Evgeniy Maloletka filmed the "parade" of rusty Russian tanks and damaged combat vehicles.


People look at destroyed Russian military equipment on Khreshchatyk Street on Independence Day. August 24, 2022. Photo by Evgeniy Maloletka


"For Ukraine!"

Ukraine's Independence Day has been celebrated annually with a military parade in Kyiv and fireworks. In 2022, the date of August 24 also marked six months since the start of the full-scale Russian-Ukrainian war. Independence Day was declared a working day. Due to the danger of massive missile attacks, all events involving crowds were canceled. Kyiv residents and visitors were urged not to ignore the air raid alert and to go down to the nearest shelter or subway.


The flag of Ukraine is over 200 square meters in size. August 24, 2022. Photo by Evgeniy Maloletka


As a sign of gratitude to the Ukrainian military who are defending Ukraine, the flags of the brigades of the Armed Forces of Ukraine were flown over the capital by drones. The column was led by a flag of Ukraine measuring more than 200 square meters. Instead of a traditional parade, broken Russian equipment was displayed on Khreshchatyk. People had the opportunity to see the destroyed Russian tanks and leave inscriptions on the rusty surfaces of the liquidated Russian army combat vehicles.


A "parade" of Russian military equipment on Khreshchatyk Street in Kyiv. August 24, 2022. Photo by Evgeniy Maloletka


"I am proud to be a part of the nation of free people of an independent Ukraine," photographer Yevhen Maloletka wrote on social media. "This year's military parade on Independence Square is significantly different from the parade of previous years. The center of Kyiv smells like war. The melted and torn metal makes it clear that the war is close." He added that the whole country, wearing embroidered shirts and carrying national flags, patriotically marched down Khreshchatyk to the sound of sirens. However, all this did not cancel Russia's plans to use missiles against Ukrainians. "Every day we read the reports and think about our relatives, friends and colleagues with excitement, hoping for the end of the war," said Evgeniy Maloletka.

Instead, on August 24, 2022, the Russian army shelled almost 60 settlements in Ukraine, and the air raid alarm sounded a record 189 times. Russian troops shelled the Chaplyno railway station in the Dnipro region, killing at least 25 people, including two children.

 

Photographer Yevheniy Maloletka is a Ukrainian photojournalist who became widely known for his photo reportage of the blockade of Mariupol during Russia's invasion of Ukraine in March 2022.

He is the winner of the 2022 James Knight International Journalism Awards from the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), as well as the winner of the 2023 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, and the winner of the 2023 World Press Photo of the Year.


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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 Foundation.

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