<p>Anton Gladun (22) lies on his bed in a hospital in Cherkasy, Ukraine. Anton, a military medic deployed on the front line in eastern Ukraine, lost both legs and the left arm in an explosion on 27 March.</p>
2023 Photo Contest, Europe, Honorable Mention

War Wounds

Photographer

Emilio Morenatti

Associated Press
14 May, 2022

Anton Gladun (22) lies on his bed in a hospital in Cherkasy, Ukraine. Anton, a military medic deployed on the front line in eastern Ukraine, lost both legs and the left arm in an explosion on 27 March.

This story portrays people who have undergone amputations as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The photographer, who lost a leg reporting in Afghanistan, feels a camaraderie with the amputees, and strives to depict the cruelty of war behind the front lines. While territory can be surrendered and regained, the loss of a limb, like the loss of a life, is permanent.

Figures in the Russia-Ukraine war are hard to verify, but reports in international media point to shelling, air strikes, and explosions caused by mines all leading to amputations. Nazar Bahniuk, a prosthetist working in a hospital in Lviv, in western Ukraine, told a Voice of America reporter that although most of his patients were soldiers from battle zones in the east, around a quarter were civilians. Overall, the UN Human Rights Office recorded 21,580 civilian casualties in Ukraine in the year following the outbreak of war, but believes the real number to be considerably higher.

Emilio Morenatti
About the photographer

Emilio Morenatti is a photojournalist for The Associated Press based in Barcelona, Spain. With a master's degree in photojournalism and documentary photography from the University of Art in London, Morenatti currently runs the photography department in Spain and Portugal for The Associated Press in Barcelona, Sp...

Read the full biography

Jury comment

The jury awarded this story with an honorable mention to highlight the long lasting consequences of war. The photographer tells a story about people who have undergone amputations in Ukraine, with a great deal of care and empathy. The edit of images evokes consideration of the innocence of children and how their lives will forever be impacted by violence and decision making that is far removed from them. While wounds continue to be inflicted on Ukraine, the jury wanted to give space to discuss the civilian toll of war and the ripple effects that people will face for the rest of their lives.