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«The children's room was empty». The consequences of the missile attack on Uman in the photos of Roman Pylypiy

Rescuers next to a house that was hit by a missile attack by the Russian army. April 28, 2023. Photo by Roman Pylypiy

 

On April 28, 2023, the Russian army launched a missile attack on Uman. Russian missiles hit a nine-story residential building. 23 people were killed, including six children.

 

Dark morning

 

On April 28, 2023, the Russian army fired 23 X-101/X-555 cruise missiles, 21 of which were shot down. The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, said that the strike was carried out by Tu-95 bombers from the Caspian Sea. The Russian military also used drones to attack Ukraine.

At 4:20 am, one of the Russian missiles destroyed a part of a residential building in Uman. The missile strike killed 23 people, including six children. The youngest child was only one and a half years old. Rescuers pulled 17 people from the rubble.


Photo by Roman Pylypiy


The photographer Roman Pylypay left Kyiv for Uman in the morning as soon as he read the news of the missile attack on the city. Rescuers were already working at the scene of the tragedy. "A lot of people were standing near the destroyed high-rise building. They were all waiting for news about their relatives," recalls photographer Roman Pylypiy. "One man was waiting for news about his children. He was crying, and a psychologist was next to him. The man said that after the strike everything went dark, nothing was visible, and when he opened the door to the children's room, there was a gaping hole in its place." Unfortunately, as it turned out later, the children died.


Photo by Roman Pylypiy


Photo by Roman Pylypiy


Roman Pylypiy talked a lot with local residents. Everyone understood that it was important to talk about the tragedy and shared their impressions, inviting him into their homes. "I went to an apartment located opposite the house destroyed by a Russian missile. An elderly man and woman showed me the windows torn out and broken by the blast wave and invited me to their balcony. When you go upstairs, everything looks much worse, because you can see the scale of the destruction," says the photographer.


Photo by Roman Pylypiy


Photo by Roman Pylypiy


Photo by Roman Pylypiy


The funeral of the children


Roman Pylypiy stayed in Uman for several days. He documented the destruction caused by the Russian missile, the work of rescuers, people who brought flowers and toys to the site of the tragedy, and the burial of the dead children. He met with local residents who told him about the time and place of the burials. Roman filmed the funerals of two children whose father he met on the day he arrived in Uman.


Photo by Roman Pylypiy


Photo by Roman Pylypiy


Photo by Roman Pylypiy


On April 30, the photographer went to the village of Apolanka to attend the funeral of an eight-year-old girl, Ulyana Troychuk. She was killed along with her father, his wife and grandmother. The girl's mother survived because she lived elsewhere. "I decided to go to Ulyana's funeral because there was not expected to be a lot of press there. I approached the relatives of the dead child and asked for permission to film. They did not object. I was the only photographer there," Roman says.


Photo by Roman Pylypiy


Photo by Roman Pylypiy

 


 

Roman Pylypiy is a Ukrainian freelance photographer based in Kyiv, Ukraine. He has been a member of the Ukrainian Association of Professional Photographers since 2023. From 2017 to 2022, he lived and worked in Beijing, China. For many years he worked with the EPA agency, then with Getty Images. Now Roman works with AFP as a freelancer.

The photographer has received several significant awards: Photographer of the Year, POY Asia 2022, NPPA award winner, nominated for The Guardian Photographer of the Year in 2019 and 2022. In 2023, his photo from Bucha became a finalist for POY, and in 2024, Pylypiy became Photographer of the Year at the Photographer of the Year (POY) competition.

 

Social networks of the photographer:

 

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 implemented thanks to the support of IWM Documenting Ukraine.


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