Here we are without a future. Every day can be the last day.

Year of war

Ukrainians reflect on a year of loss, resilience and fear.

Since Russia launched its full-scale invasion on Ukraine, every Ukrainian's life has changed — in ways both big and small.

The war has torn families apart. Many have lost homes, relatives or friends. Others have lost their jobs and dreams. Everyone has been robbed of their sense of security. ¶ Civilians have picked up arms to fight or volunteered to treat the wounded and deliver humanitarian aid. They have learned to survive and support each other under extreme circumstances, in bomb shelters and hospitals, destroyed apartment complexes and ruined marketplaces, under Russian occupation and in areas Ukraine still controls. ¶ No one has been left untouched.

Kate Turchanova, 20, is a drama student in Kyiv who has been raising money for soldiers by selling military-style clothing online. Russian forces captured her fiance while he was defending the Azovstal Steelworks during the battle for Mariupol. The couple were friends before the war started but declared their love for each other once he joined the fight. He proposed to Turchanova while the steel plant was under siege.

It wont be easier now, its going to get harder and Im prepared for the worst time. Im waiting for my beloved to come back and it will be a little easier for me to fight and to stand with him.

There is too much destruction in our country and destruction of cultural heritage, destruction of life, and it is necessary to restore, start something new and not get stuck only on this destruction. I dress like this to support the spirit of the city and country. I wear this every day when I go out in the town.

Yaroslava Oliinyk, an artist and designer, Kyiv

At the start of the full-scale invasion Russian tanks were close to our house. My wife and I decided not to leave Kyiv because I realized the heightened importance of my job during the war. I returned to work on February 28.

Arthur Trygub, 34, a mobile electrical engineer from energy provider DTEK, Kyiv

It has become weird for me and difficult for me to imagine myself without being in a war zone. My life has basically condensed down to the most important part of it which is basically humanitarian aid deliveries and aid work.

Mia Willard, 24, a Ukrainian American student, Kyiv

Leonid Rymyha, 68, is a doctor in Kherson who helped run an underground resistance movement from inside the hospital where he worked during Russia’s occupation of his city. He was detained by Russian forces. Since Russia withdrew from Kherson, he has refocused on treating patients wounded by Russian shelling from the new front line across the Dnieper River.

I believe in a positive future people who stayed here dont intend to leave. That gives me energy.

I feel like Im losing my mind. For all these months, I have been waking up every morning and thinking that Im still alive, but that this could be my last day.

Nataliia Levina, 40, therapist, from Zaporizhzhia now in Warsaw

We remember how it was in Ukraine and we see how it is now so everybody here knows exactly what they want for the future. I want the war to finish with our victory everything else we can rebuild.

Serhiy Oksin, 47, train driver, Kyiv

I started working as a volunteer, going to Ukrainian refugee shelters and providing administrative, legal, psychological support.

Kuzma Kolesnyk, 31, engineer, from Mariupol but now in Warsaw

I lost my inner peace. I would like that back.

Viacheslav Hritsuk, 33, waiter, Kherson

Ihor Tymoshenko, 42, the founder and CEO of Starni Games in Kyiv, worked with his team to create an immersive alternative war game. Named Ukraine War Stories, it highlights the real-life experiences of those who spent weeks living under occupation in Bucha and the Kyiv region.

I saw the news from Bucha and it was like an explosion in my mind I understood what we had do. We had to show what Russian troops were doing in Ukraine.

We have no future here. Every day can be the last day and we have absolutely adapted to this thought.

Zhanna Kadyrova, 41, artist, Kyiv

We have always had to work and we have to work now but now its more difficult. Were more worried and more nervous.

Anna Avramova, (left) and Tetyana Mukhayluk (right), both 63, sell fruits and produce at a market, Kyiv

Anna Kurkurina, 56, lives Mykolaiv, Ukraine, and has been rescuing wounded dogs from towns on the front line. Since the war began, the world champion in powerlifting has purchased and delivered more than 200,000 tons of animal food to the most devastated parts of the country.

I only go to completely bombed out areas. We know that villages need more help than cities because there is no one there.

I want my mom to be happy, healthy and better than she was this last year.

Daryna Horetska, 31 (right), an English teacher and Iryna Horetska, 51 (left), a manager at Artyom, a strategic space rocket plant, from Bucha but now in Lodz, Poland.

People are slowly coming back but they dont have a place to come back to.

Viacheslav Borysenko, 43, fish vendor, Maryanske, Ukraine

We always help each other here. No matter what happens we try to help each other.

Anna Prydatko, 33, freelance sports coach, Kyiv

We would bribe Russians at checkpoints with coffee. They were very ill-prepared. They would take anything from us.

Maryna Stohni, 59, a social worker, Zolota Balka, Kherson oblast

Vira Polakova, 35, an educator, lives with her son Sasha in Kokhane, Zaporizhzhia oblast. Polakova’s husband, Serhii, joined the army in April last year. A week later, he was killed in Donetsk. He was 36.

Im scared when there are explosions in the city. But I stand with my two feet on the ground. And I know everything will be okay.

We had such a beautiful village before. In one second I lost everything. Who will return it to me?

Yaroslava Kusherenko, 81, retired, Oleksandrivka, Kherson oblast

I dont know what I hope for. I dont have hope now.

Aleksandr Khadzhlnov, 39, construction work, from Mariupol but now in Warsaw

We want to go home. Home is always better. We wouldnt exchange it for anything.

Zoya Komonenko, 71, retired, Stanislav

We will be ready. We are prepared for anything that happens.

Serhii, 36 (left), and his father Vasyl, 56 (right), members of the Territorial Defense Forces, Zaporizhzhia

Liubmyla Ostapchenko, 50 (right), and Zhanna Yarosh, 57 (left), are morgue workers in Boyarka, Kyiv oblast. After Ukrainian forces liberated Bucha, Ostapchenko and Yarosh examined the bodies of 256 people who had been killed in Bucha.

Im used to coming to work and hearing the sounds of rockets above us even at the morgue. Do you know how scary and hard this is?

I wish it had never happened. We will rebuild everything. We believe in it.

Nadia Medvedeva, 62, retired, Oleksandrivka

When I first joined the armed forces, I lied to my family. I kept it a secret that I was in the Donbas.

Volodymyr Dyakun, 21, Ukrainian soldier, Donetsk

Ukrainians became closer to each other.

Yevhen Spirin, 34, editor in chief of Ukrainian news website Babel, Kyiv

A lot of our friends left.

Vasyl Dzundzya, 70, retired, Novovorontsovka

Iryna Zoria, 60, is a teacher from Pokrovsk, Donetsk oblast, but now lives in Lodz. Zoria works in a primary school as intercultural assistant between Ukrainian children and Polish teachers.

It is a tragedy and I try to keep going, but its difficult. I always thought of myself as a strong woman, but it turns out that Im less strong and less resistant that I thought I was.

The war started in Crimea and it will end in Crimea.

Mustafa Dzhemilev, 79, Crimean Tatar leader, Kyiv

Natalya Kamenetska, 36, is the village leader of Oleksandrivka, Kherson oblast. Kamenetska is among the 150 villagers who have returned to the place that was once home to 2,123 people. Her job has changed drastically, and now she is in charge of the administrative process to rebuild homes that have been destroyed by the war.

I thought people would change because of the war, but they didnt. They still have little understanding toward each other...Theres no understanding the general horror.

About this story
Photo editing by Olivier Laurent. Design and development by Stephanie Hays. Editing by Joe Moore and Reem Akkad. Anastacia Galouchka, Kamila Hrabchuk and Serhiy Morgunov contributed to this report.