Valery Melnikov is an award-winning photojournalist from Russia. His work experience includes coverage of the Ukrainian conflict of 2014 to present; an uprising of Mali Republic in 2013, Syrian Civil war coverage in 2012-2015; Lebanese war in 2006; Infamous conflict between Georgia and South Ossetia in 2008. Now he is a staff photographer at Sputnik Agency. Valery has dedicated his life to journalism, and he continues to take pride in any project he is working on. With the great sense of urgency, Valery brings people together through incredible footage from the dangerous parts of the world, so people can see and become part of it.
Black days of Ukraine
I arrived in the Ukrainian city called Luhansk in the early summer of 2014 when it was still a peaceful town, but the feeling of impending disaster was already in the air and every day it became even stronger.
The conflict between separatists and the official Ukrainian authorities gradually escalated into the war. The south-east of Ukraine was captured by the full-scale hostilities.
This summer became the bloodiest time for the strategically important city of Luhansk. The locals had to survive without any water and electricity under the daily shelling. And each new day could become their last day. There are always at least two armed sides fighting in any war. For me, as a journalist, the most interesting side of this conflict was the third one – ordinary civilians. Disaster came into their lives unexpectedly.
These people became participants of the military confrontation against their will. They experienced the most terrible things: the death of their friends and relatives, destroyed houses and ruined lives of thousands of people. I stayed in the Luhansk region for more than a month documenting the dramatic the recent Ukrainian historical events.
This series of photos reflected the most awful events that I witnessed in the summer of 2014.