Félix Séguin discovers a devastated Ukraine, but a resilient people
Back in Ukraine, journalist Félix Séguin observes the extent of the desolation sown by Russia in a year of invasion, but also the refusal of the Ukrainians to let themselves be defeated.< /p> Journalist Félix Séguin and cameraman Frédéric Therrien took 17 hours from Poland to reach the capital aboard the Kyiv Express.
“Everyone is starting to rebuild their lives. There is a refusal to return to the grim post-invasion state,” reports the TVA Nouvelles special envoy and journalist from the Bureau of Investigation, who arrived in the capital, Kyiv, seven days ago.
In the city, huge iron crosses have been installed to prevent the passage of enemy tanks, and posters encourage the enlistment of volunteers.
If we disregard these changes which recall that Ukraine is a country at war, life has resumed its course.
Life has resumed its course in Kyiv.
“The restaurants are open, the Ferris wheel is working, there are ballet classes next to our hotel. And everyone is swinging anti-aircraft alerts,” testifies Félix Séguin.
The reporter is able to compare what has changed over time, since he had covered the conflict from Kyiv, Irpin, Odessa and Bucha last April.
Thousands of shots
A year later, the surroundings of the capital still bear the scars of the appalling assaults of the Russians dating from the spring last.
The shells, the missiles, the artillery fire left indelible traces on the buildings and in the minds.
“I have lost count of the thousands of bullet holes we saw. Regardless of the street, it's systematic, ”drops the cameraman Frédéric Therrien, who accompanies the journalist.
Despite their numerous reports in hostile conditions, both were shaken by their visit to the cemetery of 'Irpin, where the victims of a massacre are buried.
“500 photos of people lined up on crosses arranged in a cemetery which had to be enlarged for the occasion, it gives a blow. It's impossible to look at these photos without imagining the life of those who appear in them, and their death too,” writes Félix Séguin in his travel diary published online.
In the trenches
As international powers increasingly supply Ukraine with weapons, the duo have also ventured alongside soldiers into the trenches of the east of the country, near Kharkiv, 12 km from the front line.
It was very close to Belgorod, Russia, from where the majority of Russian long-range missiles are launched.
Since the beginning of the conflict, the Ukrainian army has used to allow the media to approach action.
Félix Séguin sees this as proof that the conflict is also being played out on the communication front, an essential lever for mobilizing international public opinion.Tribute to some of the thousands of Ukrainian soldiers who died at the front.
Meeting with a soldier
The latter, however, wanted to meet a soldier without the armed forces of Ukraine getting involved.
And it was possible thanks to the fixer Alina Kondratenko, who convinced a soldier on leave to give an interview.
Meeting with a soldier returning from Bakhmout, where the fighting is raging.
Mykola Stupynetz had just returned from the terrible Bakhmout front, where thousands of men and women had already lost their lives, when TVA met him.
“It was like the First World War. The distance between the enemy lines is very short”, describes the soldier who until recently worked as a computer technician.
Even far from the fighting, destruction is omnipresent in the east of the country. In Stari Staltyv, not far from Kharkiv, around 80% of the small village was reduced to nothing.
“Everything is tinged with gray. Just seeing the damage, you understand the fury of the fighting that took place there. That's what I wanted to document,” says cameraman Frédéric Therrien.
During their last night in Kharkiv, six missiles targeted the city, several of which were shot down by the anti-aircraft defense. Fortunately, the people of Quebec escaped unscathed.
Back in Kyiv, Félix Séguin and Frédéric Therrien saw a certain apprehension on the faces of Ukrainians in these days surrounding the anniversary of the invasion of their country by Russia.
“It's the unknown, it creates a form of anxiety in them. What will Putin do? asks the seasoned reporter aloud, preparing to leave the country.
And that, nobody knows, except the tyrant himself.
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