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The New York Times has published the best pictures of 2023, including 16 from Ukraine

Four-year-old Taras covers his eyes with his hands. He often has nightmares about Russian tanks advancing on his house, opening fire and burying his mother alive in the ruins. The war has even penetrated his dreams. The boy was photographed for The New York Times by photographer Emil Duke earlier this year in Kyiv.

Every year, The New York Times presents its selection of the best photographs. "The photographs collected here are a tribute to the brave photographers who took dangerous risks to document events. The photographs remind us that there were a lot of tears in 2023,” writes Mark Lacey, editor of the publication, in his column titled "A Tired World”. He notes that many children, unfortunately, will not see 2024. Their lives have been cut short, and their homes and schools have become battlefields and zones of tragedy. Perhaps that is why this year's selection includes so many different photographs of children — smiling, wounded, or wrapped in a funeral shroud.

Like last year, the list includes many photographs dedicated to Ukraine. The list includes photographs of Old New Year celebrations, destroyed Bakhmut, children in a shelter during the spring shelling of Kyiv, flooded Kherson after the Kakhovka hydroelectric power station explosion, and Ukrainian soldiers during a counter-offensive;

UAPF publishes the best 16 photos related to Ukraine, according to NYT.


The carolers from the Neighborhood Slobodka group celebrated the New Year according to the Julian calendar. Ukrainians sought to widely adopt ancient holiday traditions as war raged around them.

Brendan Hoffman for The New York Times


A Russian strike hit this nine-story apartment building, killing at least 46 people. Dozens more were trapped. A fire broke out and reduced much of the building to rubble.

Nicole Tang for The New York Times

"The rocket hit on Saturday afternoon. Children were playing in the park in the yard, people were shopping and returning home. Over the next few days, volunteers set up camp to help the emergency services. The same yard and playground are now filled with aid and found belongings of surviving families," recalls photojournalist Nicole Tang.


Olga Afanasyeva, 49, is recovering in hospital after being seriously injured when Russia struck her home. She and her husband were sitting at the kitchen table when the missile hit.

Lynsey Addario for The New York Times

I was looking at her from the right side, trying to take a picture of her eyes and her injuries, but it didn't go together. Suddenly, she turned around and the other side of her face was torn apart. It just spoke to me, symbolizing all these lives and faces and everything that has been torn apart in this country. - Lynsey Addario.


Russian prisoners of war in a camp for enemy soldiers. Some will be returned to Russia in an exchange.

Nicole Tang for The New York Times


President Biden is speaking on the eve of the first anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. "Our support for Ukraine will not waver, NATO will not be divided, and we will not grow weary," he said.

Doug Mills for The New York Times

When I saw that he was giving a speech behind bulletproof glass, my adrenaline went through the roof, because it's hard to take pictures through glass. Finally, I found this place on the side. Then I realized that I could go up an inch and get a double reflection. We always say that Washington is a game of inches for photographers. - Doug Mills.


A helicopter of the 18th Sikorsky Brigade during a combat mission after a rocket attack. Ukraine's helicopter brigades were still operating a year into the war.

Daniel Beregulak for The New York Times

I was standing in a snowy field while the brigade was preparing for battle. The air was filled with anticipation.This photo, taken with an onboard remote camera, captures a poignant moment in the heart of the conflict, embodying the unwavering courage and determination of these soldiers. Despite a year of unrelenting war, these helicopters, though technologically outdated, remain an unwavering force, - said Daniel Beregulak.


Taras Gaidukevych, 4, recounted nightmares of Russian tanks driving up to his house and opening fire, showering his mother with debris. For many in Ukraine, even dreams were no refuge as the war continued.

Emil Duck for The New York Times

Taras and his mother were in the basement of their house, where they had been hiding from the air raid that morning. It was sad to see how, after a year of war, it was always present, both during the day in the form of air raid warnings and in their dreams at night, - says Emil Dack.


Medics treat a Ukrainian soldier with a shrapnel wound on the front line. The battle for the town, which was later captured by Russia, was one of the bloodiest of the war.

Tyler Hicks for The New York Times


The smoldering remains of Bakhmut a few days before Russia claimed victory there. It took the Kremlin almost a year to capture the city. It cost thousands of soldiers' lives.

Tyler Hicks for The New York Times

Despite the fact that I had seen military photos of devastated Bakhmut, it was when I flew a drone and flew to the edge of the city, seeing everything in person, that it really stuck in my memory. How much the city was destroyed and how many lives were lost in the process. It was very shocking for me personally, - said Tyler Hicks.


The funeral of Ukrainian soldier Dmytro Konobas, who was killed in action in the Luhansk region.

Nicole Tang for The New York Times


Ukrainian soldiers rest inside a destroyed building on the outskirts of this recently liberated but devastated village. It is one of seven that Ukraine recaptured during the first week and a half of its counteroffensive against Russia.

David Guttenfelder for The New York Times

It was a quiet moment for these soldiers surrounded by ruins who had been through hell. What you don't see is how noisy it was outside-the sound of the airplanes flying low and the shooting. It was interesting, the contrast with this calming moment when you liberated the next town, survived and were sitting in what was left of that bridgehead, - David Guttenfelder


Young patients of the Okhmatdyt children's hospital with painted faces gathered in a shelter. According to the United Nations, at least 535 children have been killed and 1,000 more wounded so far in the war.

Nicole Tang for The New York Times

The girls were having their faces painted as part of an event to mark International Children's Day organized by hospital staff. Kyiv has experienced days of Russian attacks on the city. The staff hoped to put smiles on the faces of their current and former patients by organizing games with music and mascots to keep the children entertained, - Nicole Tang.


A flooded area after Russian troops destroyed the dam of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power station. The disaster has forced thousands of people to flee one of the world's largest reservoirs, which was vital for irrigating farmland considered the breadbasket of Europe.

Mauricio Lima for The New York Times


The body of a Russian soldier in the Zaporizhzhia region, where Ukraine has been counter-attacking. In two months, Ukrainian troops have advanced less than 10 miles of the region's 100-mile front.

Tyler Hicks for The New York Times

I saw what I initially thought was just a uniform that had been thrown away on the road, but when I looked closer I realized it was a body. No effort had been made to move the body. It had been trampled on so many times that the body had become part of the road. - Tyler Hicks


The Ukrainian military was preparing to launch a reconnaissance drone over the occupied territory of the Russian Federation in search of heavy weapons and air defense systems. In a counteroffensive that has often relied on Ukraine's small advantages, including a fleet of inexpensive drones.

Lynsey Addario for The New York Times

When we approached the team of fighters, they were hiding in the bushes. We could hear Russian drones flying overhead, and it was terrifying. Most of the war is now fought by drones. You can't do anything, you just hope you're hiding well enough. A soldier released a drone and we ran back into the bushes, - Lynsey Addario.


Children participate in light therapy during Hanukkah celebrations at the Halom Jewish Community Center.

Brendan Hoffman for The New York Times


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