Photographer Details the Horror and Hope of Documenting the War in Ukraine

A photographer who has been in Ukraine since the beginning of the war has revealed the award-winning photos he has taken and some of the emotions he has felt in a CBS News television interview.

Roman Pilpey, who is Ukrainian himself, has traveled the world and was not in the country when Putin’s troops crossed the border but he felt compelled to come back to home to cover the fighting. He estimates that he has taken hundreds of thousands of photos since the conflict began in February 2022.

His assignment began in Poland as he documented refugees fleeing the warzone. “They were desperate,” he tells CBS. “For them, it was like a trip to nowhere. They all had bags and not knowing what was going to happen to them next.”

Pilpey later boarded the train his fellow Ukrainians had fled on back to Kyiv with a small number of men who were returning to fight for their country.

His moving photos captured families being torn apart as children were separated from their parents and pensive-looking men headed into an uncertain war.

Pilpey later headed into Bucha where Russian forces had been occupying the city. While there, he took an award-winning photo of two sisters reuniting after being separated during the occupation and not knowing what had happened to the other.

Not all of Pilpey’s photos show death, destruction, and despair. He has also captured life continuing despite Putin’s bloody attack on Ukraine; documenting weddings, dances, and social gatherings.

“They try to have the joy to enjoy their life but at the same time they don’t forget what is going on in the country,” says Pilpey.

“When people are happy you are happy with them but if there are sad moments, yeah, you feel all of the pain.”

Since the conflict began there has been a number of journalists and photographer killed covering the invasion. The AFP news agency lost its Ukraine video coordinator Arman Soldin who was killed by rocket fire in the country in May.

Pilpey says he will remain in Ukraine for as long as the Russians are there and until the war is over.