During one of my trips to Chernobyl in April, 2014 there was a heightened sense of tension in the air. There was an ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia over who keeps Crimea and Russia had made several military advances into various parts of Ukraine to stamp their authority.
During this conflict (which is still present to this day, 2019) there was a particularly unfortunate time for Ukrainians occupying The Maidan in Kiev. Rebels vs Police and many lives were lost, resulting in the series of images below; passionate Ukrainian families setting up home in the streets of Kiev for months on end.
I spent some time chatting with a local man and his family, our rambles being loosely translated by his daughter with lots of hand gestures and a few words we had to guess. He explained that he and his family had been camped in his tent on the road in to Maidan since November 2013 (it was now April 2014) and that their hope was that by doing this, together with the people of Kiev they could prevent Russian forces from entering and taking The Maidan (Independence Square).
Despite all that had and was happening, despite all of the war and fighting, the unimaginable conditions and the lives lost during this, these people were warming, welcoming and friendly. Passionate about their country in ways I hadn’t really experienced before, enough to stand up and place themselves in the literal firing line for what they loved, where they lived and where they called home; Ukraine.