Telling the Stories of War: TIME’s Resilience of Ukraine Issue

HWhat is the best way to tell the story about a war? Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began on Feb. 24, all of us have been grappling with the constant flood of images and messages coming into our homes and onto our screens, with what feels like unprecedented immediacy. The world has been captivated by the extraordinary resilience of Ukraine’s people and the unspeakable tragedies they are enduring.

TIME’s war on terror came to an end this week with the tragic death of Brent Renaud (a award-winning, 50-year-old filmmaker). He was hit by Russian fire at Irpin in Kyiv, March 13, and died. Brent Renaud was currently working on an TIME Studios documentary regarding the global refugee crises. That crisis now counts among its numbers the 3 million refugees fleeing Ukraine. Brent’s loss is devastating for journalism, compounded days later by the deaths of cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski, 55, and the Ukrainian journalist Oleksandra Kuvshynova, 24. Stories of war could not have been told without the help of journalists like Pierre, Oleksandra, Brent and many more from Ukraine, who are essential in this moment.

While we are mourning the passing of these dedicated professionals, our efforts pay tribute to them through our work. “What gives me the greatest heart,” Brent’s brother Craig says in a remembrance in this issue, “is how specifically and genuinely the people honoring Brent acknowledge the mission that drove him.”

We tell the stories of refugees, so much a part of Brent’s work, in two covers that accompany this issue. Valeriia is 5-years-old. She comes from President Volodymyr Zelensky’s hometown and, with her mother Taisiia, recently fled to Poland, leaving behind her brother and father. “It was very hard to leave Ukraine, very hard,” Taisiia tells TIME in this issue, “but everyone wants to take care of their children.” An image created by the artist JR, and photographed by drone from above, is lifted up by more than one hundred of her fellow Ukrainians on Freedom Avenue in Lviv, the city in the country’s west that has been a hub for international aid and collaboration these past few weeks.

The story from Kyiv, three hundred miles away to the east is much worse. Maxim Dondyuk, a Ukrainian photographer, kept a journal of the life and deaths in the capital. His photograph of a mother and child being evacuated from Irpin by a Ukrainian soldier—on a day in which Russian forces blew up the railroad tracks on a key evacuation route—also appears on TIME’s cover this week.

Learn More Ukrainian Photographer documents invasion in his Country

These images together are a reflection of Ukraine’s strength and anguish, as well as the sentiment expressed in the photographs. “This little Ukrainian girl is the future, the hope, the joy, the beauty,” JR says, “and, in this ugly war, she reminds us what our Ukrainian friends are
fighting for.”

“When we show [the Russians] the children killed by Russian bombs, they will imagine their own children,” says Maxim about another heartbreaking photograph of a child that appears in this issue. “They will see themselves in us. They will feel it.”

This magazine was published on the 16th of March, the same day President Zelensky addressed Congress. “Now I am almost 45 years old,” he said. “Today my age stopped when the heart of more than 100 children stopped beating.” As I listened to him speak, and took in the dueling images of joy and destruction in the video he showed, my own 5-year-old played nearby. This issue is filled with stories from families all over the world, including those in Mariupol (Ukraine) and Port-au-Prince(Haiti). These stories are what connect us all. They will be continued to be shared, and we appreciate your support.

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