Almost a year since the beginning of the Russian invasion in Ukraine. At 22, Mykyta is the chief lieutenant of a tank unit based somewhere in the Donbass. Using a video made up of several photos, the young officer recounts and shares his year of war. The exact location of his combat zone is the only precision that Mykyta cannot give, either for security reasons or because, as he writes to me himself, sometimes “we move up to five times an hour “.
Months of war combined in one video
We met at the end of June 2022 in the Bakhmout region, on the road leading to Lyssytchanks. At the time, his six-tank unit was sent on express to repel a Russian breakthrough. For my part, I come back from the area towards which he is heading. When we meet, I am happy to find a reliable orientation, he is surprised to meet me and decides, after a moment to “sniff each other”, to confide.
Since then, we correspond regularly, especially when he can. Sometimes it’s tragic news with two of his tanks destroyed, sometimes moments of peace. His video montage recounts his months of war, the moments of conquest as well as the moments of pause, the violence of the war, the escape through feelings but also the humanity that men bring to this tragic period. By making his videos, Mykyta sees a way to escape from his daily life, when he can. Ironically, before the start of the Russian invasion on February 24, 2022, the young man was supposed to go on a peace mission in Mali as part of the UN.
In the video, a first photo shows a large building, with Kharkiv’s central square behind it. In the background, the town hall was hit by the bombardments. Another photo shows him with one foot on the flag of the breakaway Russian republic of Donetsk, a symbol of victory during an advance into the Donbass pocket of fighting.
A young girl is present in the photo slideshow: an ex from Mykyta, who came to see him before the couple broke up.
Credits: Nicolas Tonev/Europe 1
The video ends with a shot of the Battle of Lyman, near the destroyed railroad center.