Ten images captured prior to the Ukraine War

Celeste Chaban

On February 24, 2022, when Russia began its full-scale invasion, everything in Ukraine abruptly changed.

Here, ten Ukrainians discuss what has happened to them since sharing the last mobile photo they took before their nation underwent a permanent change.

Angelina Chaban poses for a photo in Kramatorsk

On February 23, 2022, I took a walk around my neighborhood, as seen in this photo. Despite the pleasant weather that day, there was a sense that something unexpected might happen.

I took the photo because I thought I looked good and it was a nice day. It is situated in a rural area on the outskirts of the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk. It's my favorite location.

I stayed at home in the early days of the Russian invasion, but on April 7 we moved west to Vinnytsia and then to Kyiv.

The image makes me feel as though it is from a different life when I look at it.

Age 24 is Angelina Chaban.

Fura lies in the sun in Kyiv

On February 22, I was taking calls while working from home and just taking it all in. I took the picture because I thought my cat was so cute.

Her name, Fura, is a truck name. She was a kitten when my sister pulled her from the side of a road.

At the time, there was some media coverage that hinted at an impending event, and people were talking about it. But I held out hope that if there was an escalation, it wouldn't have an impact on the populace.

We chose to depart from Kiev on the 25th. Moving to the northwest of Ukraine, we took the cat with us. We went back during the summer.

Anna, 32.

Ihor's daughter Marta holds a candle she made

This candle was made in preschool by my daughter Marta, who brought it home on February 22. I recollect being proud of her because it was so lovely and well-made, and I was pleased that the kids were being inventive and making things.

What would occur after that was unknown to me.

My daughter, who will be seven in March, hasn't attended preschool since February 24 of last year. My spouse won't allow her.

I was initially very concerned that if there was a war, my family and I would have to split up. However, we're still here.

Ihor Bezukyi, 51.

Lera Dubrovska enjoys dinner with friends before the invasion

After work on a typical day, I made the decision to stop by my friend's bar for a few drinks. They then took me out to eat some local fare, drink some beer, and try some vodka made from horseradish root.

I don't recall exactly how I felt, but I do recall that we were laughing. We did discuss the potential for a Russian invasion, but we quickly agreed that it was unlikely.

I ran into two of the guys I went out with the night of the invasion a few days later. All of us were assisting the military in erecting barricades around Odessa's downtown. Back then, it was a breathtaking sight to see so many hipsters carrying sandbags.

Now that I have seen the picture, I miss the person I used to be.

28, Valeriia Dubrovska.

The view over Lviv the weekend before Russia's invasion

It was my first extended weekend off in a while, and a friend had come to visit me in Lviv for her birthday.

The Church of Sts. Olha and Elizabeth's newly opened panoramic view was one of the stops on our city tour. They requested that we close the door as we left since we were the last guests that day.

In those days, I was utterly joyful. My friends and my job made me happy. However, there was also a feeling that something was about to happen that would change everything.

The window from which we once observed the world is now closed.

I'm still in Lviv, but I don't use my phone for pictures very often. I now use my camera to record what is happening.

30-year-old Sofiia Doroshenko.

Ievegen's baby and dog lie on the floor at their home in Dnipro

On February 19 at our residence in Dnipro, I took this picture of Yaroslav, my first child. He had only been alive for six months. It also includes my dog, who is very close with my son.

On February 24, we left our house. To get my family to a safe location in western Ukraine, I drove there for three days.

Our house in Dnipro is still standing, but nobody resides there anymore. When we left, the fridge still contained food, so I had to ask friends to clean it.

Although tourism is now completely dead, I once owned a travel agency. I now work as a volunteer for the army, transporting vehicles for the military from the border to the heart of Ukraine. Driving is something I do nonstop.

Children grow so quickly during this time in their lives. Sometimes after a 10-day absence, I return to find that he has acquired new knowledge.

Ievgen Pereverziev, age forty.

Group photo of Boris Shelahurov's football team

After losing in the semifinals of a local soccer match in Kharkiv, we posed for a team photo. I gave our team its lone goal in that contest.

We were happy because we played well even though we lost. I didn't think a war would break out at the time.

I want to enter my team in another competition.

28-year-old Borys Shelahurov.

A picture of Oleksandr's coffee cu

On February 22, 2022, following a driving lesson, I snapped this photo of a coffee cup that said, "Paris I love you.". I was working on a photo project at the time.

We were residing in Bucha and spent the first two weeks following the invasion in the basement of a nearby preschool. During those two weeks, I dropped 10 kg.

On March 10, we walked 22 kilometers (14 miles) to flee the Russian occupation. I nearly broke down when we arrived at the first Ukrainian checkpoint.

Despite the war, I'm still working on my photography project. My driving test remains unpassed.

Alexander Popenko, age 29.

Andriy hugs a reindeer decoration outside the Lviv National Art Gallery

The Potocki Palace, the Lviv National Art Gallery, is where I work. I always make fun of the museum's tacky winter decorations that are up until the spring each year.

The prospect of war was being discussed by everyone in the city. A few days prior to the 24th, I asked a friend to take a photo of me with the decorations in order to lessen the tension. Of course, I had no idea what might transpire.

Although everything at the museum has changed, I am still employed there. We've been through so much that it feels like 100 years have passed.

A 43-year-old man named Andrii Rybka.

Children play at the National Art Museum in Kyiv

This photo was taken at the National Art Museum of Ukraine's book presentation. My children and the kids of my friend sat down to play a game while the adults talked.

On March 6, I drove my kids to the Hungarian border, where we left the car, and we continued on foot.

I consider how carefree the kids appear in this picture compared to how soon after they had to embark on such a distressing journey, which involved them driving for a considerable amount of time while their mothers sobbed.

A 41-year-old woman named Zhenya Molyar.

A story's length and clarity have been edited. Anastasiya Gribanova and Svitlana Libet provide additional reporting assistance.

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