TIME russia

Russia Sentences Ukrainian Filmmaker Oleg Sentsov to 20 Years in Prison

Oleg Sentsov
STR—AP Oleg Sentsov gestures as the verdict is delivered, as he stands behind bars at a court in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, on Aug. 25, 2015

Washington and Brussels have vigorously denounced the trial

Oleg Sentsov, a Ukrainian filmmaker best known for the 2011 movie Gámer, was sentenced to 20 years in a Russian prison on charges of terrorism on Tuesday in the city of Rostov-on-Don, the BBC reports.

Sentsov, a vocal pro-Ukrainian activist, was arrested in May of 2014, and charged with organizing two arson attacks in the eastern Ukrainian city of Simferopol, the BBC says.

Sentsov denies the charges, and the case has been denounced by both the E.U. and by the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, who said the trial had been farcical. Ukrainian officials insist that Sentsov — who says he was beaten in an attempt to extract a confession — is being persecuted for protesting Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

Another activist, Aleksandr Kolchenko, was sentenced to 10 years in prison on similar charges. He also denies the charges, the BBC reports.

[BBC]

TIME ukraine conflict

9 Dead as Shelling Increases in Eastern Ukraine

A man cries as he inspects debris while standing outside his damaged house, which according to locals was caused by recent shelling, in Donetsk, Ukraine, August 17, 2015. Fighting flared between Ukrainian government forces and Russian-backed separatists in two separate parts of eastern Ukraine overnight with several civilians killed by shelling, Ukrainian police and separatist sources said on Monday. REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Alexander Eermochenko—Reuters A man cries as he inspects debris while standing outside his damaged house, which according to locals was caused by recent shelling, in Donetsk, Ukraine, on Aug. 17, 2015.

The conflict has killed an estimated 6,400 people since April 2014

DONETSK, Ukraine — A night-long artillery exchange in eastern Ukraine between government troops and Russia-backed rebels claimed nine lives on Monday, casting doubt on the already shaky cease-fire.

The fighting between Russia-backed separatist rebels and Ukrainian government troops in the country’s industrial heartland eased after a truce was signed in February. But despite pledges to withdraw heavy caliber weapons from the front lines, both sides seem to be engaged in recent heavy fighting.

The conflict has killed an estimated 6,400 people since April 2014, according to the United Nations.

The rebel mouthpiece Donetsk News Agency said artillery fire killed three people in a front line town of Horlivka and two in the rebel capital of Donetsk. Ukrainian officials reported two civilian deaths on their side, in a suburb of Mariupol on the Black Sea. The Ukrainian Security and Defense Council also reported two troops killed and six injured overnight.

The shelling on Monday came after failed talks between Ukraine, the rebels and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe which were supposed to agree on further steps to withdraw weaponry.

An Associated Press reporter in Donetsk witnessed weaponry on the move in the past few days while salvos of incoming and outgoing Grad rockets were frequently heard.

President Vladimir Putin, who met representatives of various ethnic communities in the Russia-occupied Crimea on Monday, did not comment on the recent shelling. But he used the opportunity to claim that the current Ukrainian government is not free to make its own decisions because the country “is being managed from the outside.”

Putin has alleged that Kiev’s decisions are heavily influenced by Western powers including the United States.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Monday accused the Ukrainian government in Kiev of derailing the recent talks on withdrawal. Lavrov said the uptick in shelling could be the beginning of a new Ukrainian offensive.

“We’re worried about events of the recent days, which look very much like preparation for fresh hostilities,” he said.

In Washington, U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters that there was no mistaking who was responsible for the recent increase in attacks.

“Russia and the separatists are launching these attacks, just as they escalated the conflict last August,” he said. “Efforts by Russia and separatists to grab more territory will be met with further costs.”

OSCE observers warned Saturday about heavy weaponry that has gone missing after it was withdrawn from the front lines. The OSCE monitors were denied access to two locations in rebel-held areas where heavy caliber weapons were supposed to be kept. They were told at one location that 11 Grad multiple rocket launchers had been taken to Donetsk.

TIME

Dutch Investigators Claim Russian Missile Debris at MH17 Crash Site

Parts were found during Dutch recovery missions to the crash site

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Dutch prosecutors said Tuesday they have found what they believe could be parts of a Buk missile system at the site in eastern Ukraine where Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was brought down last year.

The announcement represents the first time prosecutors have confirmed possible physical evidence of a missile bringing down the plane and killing all 298 people on board.

The prosecutors, who are leading an international criminal probe into the deadly crash on July 17, 2014, said in a written statement that the parts “are of particular interest to the criminal investigation as they can possibly provide more information about who was involved in the crash of MH17.”

Though they have previously said a missile strike is the most likely explanation for the crash, they have never revealed that they are in possession of possible missile parts.

However, they cautioned that the conclusion cannot yet be drawn “that there is a causal connection between the discovered parts and the crash of flight MH17.”

Prosecutors will now enlist the help of weapons and forensics experts to further investigate the suspected missile parts, said spokesman Wim de Bruin. He declined to give more details of the parts that are under investigation.

The parts were found during Dutch recovery missions to the crash site. Dutch authorities have conducted several missions to the site to recover human remains, victims’ belongings and parts of the downed Boeing 777.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was heading from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was brought down over conflict-torn Ukraine. Russian-backed rebels and Ukrainian forces have blamed one another for shooting down the plane. Both sides deny responsibility.

A report by the Dutch Safety Board into the cause of the crash is expected by the end of October, while the separate international criminal investigation is likely to take months more to complete.

TIME Ukraine

Ukraine Suffers ‘Worst Shelling in Six Months’ as Violence Escalates

UKRAINE-RUSSIA-CONFLICT
Aleksey Filippov—AFP/Getty Images Residents clean up the debris of their destroyed house after shelling between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists on August 10, 2015 in Golmovsky village, Donetsk region.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry says the situation is a "dangerous indication" of coming conflict

Separatist insurgents staged assaults on Ukrainian villages on Monday, reports Reuters. State officials say the attacks featured the heaviest shelling in the region since February.

The Ukrainian military reported that their troops repelled tanks and around 200 rebel soldiers at the village of Novolaspa and a “battalion”-strength force with tanks and armored vehicles in nearby Starohnativka. Both locations are about 30 miles south of Donetsk, which the separatists declared as their capital early last year.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry called the situation “a dangerous indication” of imminent conflict, AFP said. The attacks are the latest in recent allegations that separatist forces have breached the truce signed in Minsk in February.

On Sunday, four tanks belonging to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe were set ablaze in Donetsk. Ukrainian military spokesman Oleksandr Motuzyanyk attributed the act to “unlawful armed groups.”

The insurgents have denied attacking Ukrainian troops and framed the country’s military as the aggressors, claiming Kiev is eager to reclaim the territories that declared their autonomy last April.

Over 6,500 people have been killed since the conflict between Ukrainian forces and separatists in the territories of Donetsk and Luhansk escalated in early 2014. The conflict has also strained the West’s relations with Moscow, which many accuse of backing the rebel forces.

TIME remembrance

The World Marks the First Anniversary of the MH17 Aviation Disaster

One year on, investigations into the tragedy are still ongoing

Friday marks one year since Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over conflict-torn eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board.

The Boeing 777 was on route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam when it crashed in pro-Russian rebel-held territory on July 17, 2014.

The Dutch Safety Board is due to release the final report into the cause of the crash in October, reports the BBC. It is widely believed by Kiev and Western nations that Russian-backed rebels shot down the plane. Moscow denies this and instead blames the Ukrainian military.

A criminal probe launched by a joint investigation team consisting of detectives from the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine is also ongoing.

A public memorial service was held in Australia’s capital, Canberra, on Friday and a permanent memorial plaque was unveiled to commemorate the 38 Australians who died.

“In the worst of times you have displayed the strength of giants and the grace of angels and I am humbled by you,” Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott told the crowd, which included family members of those who perished. “We owe it to the dead to bring the guilty to justice.”

Memorial events are also being held in Ukraine as well as the Netherlands, from where 193 of the victims hailed.

In Kuala Lumpur, a service was held on July 11, a week before the anniversary as it would otherwise clash with the Eid al-Fitr festival, which marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

“The end goal is clear — to bring the perpetrators to justice, and ensure they pay for this unforgivable crime,” Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said in a statement on the eve of the anniversary.

Malaysia is leading calls from several countries for a U.N. tribunal to prosecute those responsible for downing the flight. On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin rejected establishing an international tribunal, saying it would be counterproductive.

Meanwhile, a new video obtained by News Corp. Australia purports to show the rebels filming themselves ransacking the luggage of passengers from MH17.

In the footage, men appear to believe they have come across the wreck of a Ukrainian fighter jet but minutes later realize the aircraft is a commercial liner.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the video was “sickening to watch.”

Warning: The video contains graphic content that some viewers may find distressing

TIME Innovation

Don’t Let Ukraine Become the Next Greece

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

These are today's best ideas

1. Don’t let Ukraine become the next Greece.

By Philip Zelikow in RealClearPolitics

2. The Web that could spark revolutions and free people is dying.

By Hossein Derakhshan in Matter

3. Fracking produces millions of gallons of polluted water every day. One company figured out how to clean it.

By Rob Matheson at the MIT News Office

4. Find out why one school district is buying body cameras — for principals.

By Mackenzie Ryan in the Des Moines Register

5. Listen to what women say, not how they say it.

By Ann Friedman in the Cut

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME portfolio

See Scenes of Daily Life in a Ukrainian City Marked by War

In Mariupol, the stakes have never been higher

French photographer Jerome Sessini has spent the last 18 months covering the unrest in Ukraine. He watched the rise of the antigovernment protests in late 2013, paralyzing Kiev, after the country pivoted toward Russia under the impulsion of its then-President Viktor Yanukovych. He was at Independence Square when dozens of people were shot by snipers, and he witnessed the birth of the war in the east as pro-Russian forces fanned through the region. And last July, he was also on the scene when Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was downed by a missile, killing nearly 300 innocents.

Sessini has returned to the east several times since then, each time documenting the changing of a society in the country’s industrial heartland and its people as the conflict rages.

At least 6,400 people have been killed in Ukraine, the United Nations recently noted, and more than 1.3 million have been displaced. Since the rebels took Debaltseve in February, fears have steadily risen that Mariupol, a key economic and transport hub, would be next. If so, it would establish a land bridge between Russia and Crimea, the province it annexed in early 2014.

In late May, Sessini arrived to Mariupol, a major port city under government control along the Sea of Azov. Earlier, he had photographed on the pro-Russian side. This time, for two weeks, he opted to remain on the predominantly Russian-speaking government-controlled side. He went in with two civilian volunteers—who were bringing food, clothing and electronics to build a drone—to see how the other side is living.

This near-certain upcoming battle has had a big impact on Mariupol, which has a population of about 460,000. “The city looks like it’s at a standstill,” Sessini tells TIME. He found a lot of shops were closed, restaurants and bars were empty, with streets largely deserted by 8PM. “You can feel the tension,” he says. “You feel this kind of sadness.”

During his visit, Sessini aimed to show daily life. He spent a fair amount of time on the tramway, turning his lens toward the souls on board and then out the windows at a city hanging in the balance as fighting rages nearby. He met a lot of young volunteers fighting on the Ukrainian side. Some of them, he was told, had been either police officers or demonstrators during the Maidan protests but were now working toward a common goal against the pro-Russian forces that fanned out across the east. Sessini worked with a translator, as many of the people he encountered weren’t naturally open with him, a foreigner. That lack of trust, he understands, is a natural part of conflict.

His photos are a powerful and tragic testament to the sea change in Ukraine. “I’ve seen the split go deeper and deeper,” Sessini says. He plans to return later in the summer—what he expects then, he’s not quite sure. He admits there is a realization among locals, as fighting has neared over the past few months, that their home city is a strategic target. They understand an assault is likely to come sooner or later. For some of them, he found, all they can do is wait.

Jerome Sessini is a French photojournalist represented by Magnum Photos.

Kira Pollack, who edited this photo essay, is TIME’s Director of Photography. Follow her on Twitter @kirapollack.

Andrew Katz is a former TIME homepage editor and reporter covering international affairs. Follow him on Twitter @katz.

TIME Ukraine

Why Chechens Are Fighting Chechens in Ukraine’s Civil War

Muslim Chechen men, who fight alongside Pro-Russian rebels, pray near a checkpoint in the town of Zugres, Eastern Ukraine, on Jan. 11, 2015.
Mstyslav Chernov—AP Muslim Chechen men, who fight alongside pro-Russian rebels, pray near a checkpoint in the town of Zugres, Eastern Ukraine, on Jan. 11, 2015.

The conflict has given exiled Chechens a chance to revive an old battle against their Moscow-backed kinsmen

The Chechens arrived at about the same time on both sides of the war in eastern Ukraine. On the side of the Russians, they came last spring with no insignia on their uniforms, crossing the border into the rebel-held territory of Ukraine and taking up positions around the city of Donetsk. General Isa Munaev, by contrast, arrived on the opposite side of the front lines with a suitcase full of insignia – military berets, pins and flags bearing the symbol of Chechen independence: a wolf in repose above nine stars, each representing one of the major clans, or teips, of Chechnya.

His arrival opened one of the odder dimensions of the conflict in Ukraine. This sovereign country, which has more than enough of its own internal divisions and rivalries, has become host to a foreign conflict of Chechens versus Chechens that has been simmering elsewhere for more than a decade.

Adam Osmayev, the commander of a battalion of Chechens fighting against Russia-backed rebels, is in the town of Lysychansk, Ukraine on March 2, 2015.
Olya Engalycheva—APAdam Osmaev, the commander of a battalion of Chechens fighting against Russia-backed rebels, in Lysychansk, Ukraine on March 2, 2015.

Regardless of the peace process now easing the broader war in Ukraine, this narrow struggle is likely to continue as long as the opposing sides from Chechnya have the chance to meet each other in an active conflict zone. “It’s like a blood feud,” says Adam Osmaev, one of the key Chechen commanders participating in the war. “Politics can’t stop it.”

The feud that split Chechnya, a tiny nation of highlanders who mostly adhere to a moderate strand of Sunni Islam, began around the year 2000, when they were fighting their most recent war for independence from Russia. Under the command of President Vladimir Putin, the Russian air force systematically bombed the rebellious province into submission that year, and with no air defenses to fight back, Chechnya’s rebel leadership was broadly divided between those who grudgingly accepted Russian rule and those who kept up a guerrilla-style insurgency.

Gen. Munaev was among the latter. By his own account, he remained in Chechnya for more than five years after the war’s official end, actively participating in the resistance even as his fellow fighters turned to the use of assassinations, sabotage and terrorism in their attacks on Russian and loyalist forces. All too often, civilians were caught in the conflict, especially as Chechen rebels turned to the use of suicide bombings and took innocent hostages. In 2006, during a counter-insurgency strike in Chechnya, Munaev was gravely injured – sustaining, as he later recalled, 36 shrapnel wounds. His comrades then smuggled him through Ukraine to Europe to seek treatment, and he received political asylum in Denmark soon after.

By that point, Chechnya was firmly under the control of a young warlord named Ramzan Kadyrov, whom Putin had entrusted in 2004 to stamp out what remained of the local insurgency. The result was a vicious internecine struggle. A brawny boxing fan with a private zoo full of carnivores, Kadyrov oversaw the hunt for rebel leaders in the mountains of Chechnya and allowed no resistance to Russian rule, often referring to Putin as a kind of surrogate father. Even in exile, Kadyrov’s enemies would often wind up dead – some assassinated in Europe, others in Turkey or Dubai – even though Kadyrov denied personally ordering their murders.

The exiled Munaev seemed undeterred. Having recovered from his injuries in Denmark, he set up a political activist group to campaign for Chechen independence, and he stubbornly renounced any Chechen who agreed to talk of reconciliation with Kadyrov or his representatives. “This war never ended for us,” says his close friend and associate in Denmark, the exiled Chechen statesman Ilyas Musayev. “The thought of any contact with those who have betrayed Chechnya, who have killed their own tribesmen, causes a Chechen terrible pain,” Musayev told TIME during an interview at his apartment near Copenhagen in late 2009.

He conceded, however, that little could be done from exile to change the situation in Chechnya, and as time past, their old insurgency died down. Russia felt secure enough in 2010 to abolish martial law in the region, and a sense of normalcy returned to Chechnya as its bombed-out cities were rebuilt with money from Moscow.

The war in eastern Ukraine, which broke out last spring, provided the exiled Chechens with their first chance in years to take up arms against Russia again. Munaev didn’t miss the opportunity. Weeks after Russia set off the conflict by invading and annexing the region of Crimea, Munaev arrived in Ukraine’s capital, Kiev, with his suitcase of Chechen flags and patches.

Forty-eight years old at the time, he must have seemed a strange volunteer to the Ukrainian military officers who received him. But in their desperate search for experienced fighters – Ukraine’s armed forces were hopelessly unprepared for a war with Russia – Munaev was a valuable paramilitary asset. So Ukraine’s military provided him with a cache of small arms, and he was quickly allowed to form a unit called the Dudaev Battalion, which began serving alongside the Ukrainian army last spring. (The unit was named after the late Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev, a former Soviet air force general who ruled Chechnya during its years of de facto independence from 1991 until 1996, when he was killed in a Russian airstrike.)

At a press conference in October, Munaev made clear his motives for coming to fight in Ukraine: “If Ukraine loses, Chechnya will lose,” he said, his voice seeming to falter with emotion. “Fighting here in the defense of Ukrainian freedom, we are defending our own freedom, our own statehood.” By that logic, he urged all Chechen exiles to take up the call to arms as a revival of their bygone war against Russia, and dozens of them have.

According to the battalion’s officers, about a quarter of their roughly 200 fighters are Chechens who have mostly come from their exiles in Turkey and various parts of Europe. Half of them are Ukrainian, while the rest are a mixed bag of former Soviet military veterans, mostly from Azerbaijan and Georgia.

Over the past year, they have participated in some of Ukraine’s fiercest battles against pro-Russian separatist forces, often doing the dangerous work of reconnaissance behind enemy lines. But Munaev’s role as their commander did not last long. In February, during a vicious battle for control of the strategic railroad juncture of Debaltseve, he was killed in action while on a reconnaissance mission with a handful of his men. His deputy commander Osmaev, a far younger and less experienced fighter from Chechnya, then took over command of the unit.

Back in their homeland, Kadyrov was elated at the news, taking it as his chance to tell all Chechens not to follow in Munaev’s footsteps. “Stop immediately!” he wrote on his Instagram account. “This is not your war. Go home now. This is your chance to stay alive.”

It seemed an ironic piece of advice for Kadyrov to offer. At least since May, dozens of his loyal fighters from Chechnya have gone to aid the pro-Russian forces in Ukraine, and he has repeatedly warned the government in Kiev that he would send more of them to arrest Ukrainian politicians or help the separatists carry the fight. He has even offered to join the war himself if Putin gives him leave.

During a visit to Chechnya in April, TIME interviewed one officer of the region’s Interior Ministry forces who says he served a brief tour in eastern Ukraine last year. Before the deployment, he says he and the other men in his unit went on leave from active duty, allowing their commanders in Russia and Chechnya to deny having sent them. “It was a formality,” he says on condition of anonymity. “That’s the way of this war.”

Though he never met a fellow Chechen on the other side of the front lines, he didn’t seem troubled by the fact that it was possible. So deep is the split within this nation that one Chechen fighter might go covertly to Ukraine from Russia, another might travel from his exile in Europe, and neither would seem bothered by the fact that, meeting on the field of battle, they would share the bonds of faith, language and kinship that have defined their identities for hundreds of years.

Driving around in his armored car in the front-line town of Lysychansk, the current commander of the Dudaev Battalion says he can’t even bring himself to call the other side Chechens anymore. “These are people who serve the historical enemy of their nation, who kill their own kin,” Osmaev tells TIME. “These aren’t Chechens. At best they’re Chechen-speaking Russians.” He doesn’t seem to care that the scorn is mutual.

TIME Ukraine

On Patrol With One of Russia’s Most Wanted in the Battle for Ukraine

TIME embedded with the Dudaev Battalion led by commander Adam Osmaev, who is wanted in Russia on terrorism charges

Last year, the people of Ukraine realized that they had, in effect, no army to defend them. Their military had been too depleted by corruption and mismanagement to mount a defense when Russia sent troops to seize the region of Crimea in February 2014. Through the following spring, armed forces mostly stood by as Russia went on to fuel a separatist rebellion in Ukraine’s eastern regions, seizing effective control of more territory and large portions of the border with Ukraine. The so-called “volunteer battalions”—poorly trained but highly motivated militias—arose to fill the holes in Ukraine’s defenses.

Over the past year, dozens of these paramilitary groups have appeared on Ukraine’s battlefields, often bearing the brunt of the fighting against Russian-backed separatist forces. They consist of anywhere from a few dozen to a few thousand troops, and their more successful commanders often enjoy the status of national celebrities. But their place in the military hierarchy of Ukraine tends to be murky. Though they get much of their heavy weaponry from government stockpiles, they mostly operate in a legal grey zone, closer to guerrillas than national guards.

Earlier this year, TIME embedded with one of the more controversial of these groups—the Dudaev Battalion—which has been carrying out reconnaissance and sabotage behind enemy lines since the war began. About half of its troops are from foreign countries, meaning that, legally, they do not have the right to serve in Ukraine’s armed forces. But their commander Adam Osmaev, who is wanted in Russia on terrorism charges, now wants to merge his force with Ukraine’s defense ministry or national police—a move that would give him access to more weapons, he says, as well as a chance to get some Western military aid.

TIME On Our Radar

Magnum Photographer Jerome Sessini Wins Olivier Rebbot Award

Crash Malaysian airways uvraine
Jerome Sessini—Magnum The remains of a passenger on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 that was shot over eastern Ukraine, July 17, 2014.

From "Malaysia Airlines Ukraine Crash: ‘Unreal’ Scenes from Photographer Jerome Sessini"

The prestigious Overseas Press Club Awards recognizes the best international journalism

Last July, Magnum photographer Jerome Sessini was in eastern Ukraine when he heard that a plane had been brought down by a surface-to-air missile.

The French photographer was one of the first journalists on the scene. His heart-wrenching images showed how a field of sunflowers in the village of Torez had been transformed into the horrific resting place for 298 passengers.

For his coverage of the macabre landscape, published in TIME, the Overseas Press Club of America has awarded Sessini the Olivier Rebbot Award.

“I am pleasantly surprised,” the photographer told TIME ahead of today’s ceremony in New York. “I’m pleased for two reasons: one, because it’s a prestigious award and, two, because Gilles Peress is one of the former recipients of that prize, and he’s always been a model for me. He’s covered conflicts with a real analytical depth, which makes all the difference.”

Sessini spent most of 2014 in Ukraine, documenting the violent protests on Maidan Square in Kiev, the MH-17 plane crash, the unrecognized rebel-led referendum in Donetsk and the impact of war on local populations in eastern Ukraine.

“My process sounds a bit contradictory,” he said. “I start by covering a breaking news event and at some point, something happens in me and I have to cover that story in the long term. The two are indissociable. I need the urgency before I can change rhythm and take the necessary distance to the subject to produce a deeper body of work.”

Sessini was particularly attracted to the story in Ukraine because it visually stimulated him while holding a historical importance. “I’ll admit it, it was a mix of egoism and altruism,” he says. “The reason I decided to do long-term work in eastern Ukraine is because I felt the local population was the biggest loser of this war. They find themselves in the middle. They’ve been ostracized by the central government of Ukraine, and they are seen as the bad guys because Russia supports them.”

Sessini will be going back to eastern Ukraine in May.

The Overseas Press Club of America has also awarded photographers Bulent Kilic of Agence France-Presse and Rodrigo Abd of Associated Press with the John Faber Award and the Feature Photograph Award, respectively.

Kilic was named TIME’s 2014 Wire Photographer of the Year.

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