Ukraine Crisis

The New Normal: Ordinary Men and Women Take Up Arms in Kiev

Men and women from all walks of life have banded together in Ukraine’s escalating anti-government protests.

. Left: Originally from the Dnipropetrvs'k region and a veteran of the Soviet war in Afghanistan, this anti-government protester is the director of a children's hospital and also works for a security agency. He believes that returning to the 2004 constitution with limited presidential power is a crucial step in the path to freedom.
Right: A young carpenter from a small village in the Volinia region of Western Ukraine says he will fight and die if necessary to attain freedom for his country. Valentina Piccinni / Redux

. Left: A young man patrols the main frontline in the anti-goverment protests on Hrushevs'koho street, leading to the parliament building in Kiev, where protesters have erected high barricades of tires, bricks and snow. He says that victory for protesters is the only way out.
Right: A protester, who is normally a carpenter, patrols the main frontline beside the access to Lobanovskyi Dynamo stadium, where barricades are weak. Because of the high level of activity at this crucial spot, he has slept very little in the last few months. Jean-Marc Caimi / Redux

. Left: A protester from the city of Lviv, in western Ukraine, is applying to become a cook and wants to move to Poland to finish his studies. He shares his thoughts of freedom with those who came to the Maidan, or main protest camp, to free the country from what they believe is a corrupt government.
Right: A priest of the Orthodox Ukrainian Church, from the St. Nicholas parish in Kiev, says he was impressed with the number of people that gathered in the main square to protest and fight on Dec. 1. He says he will fight with the opposition to free the country. Valentina Piccinni / Redux

. Left: A protester poses at the International Center Of Culture and Arts, a building occupied by the opposition. In his normal life, he is a teacher and says he is overwhelmed by the violence of the riots and the brutality of the government forces.
Right: Nikola is a native of the Crimean region of Southern Ukraine, but he is now based at the ICCA, where many of the demonstrators currently sleep. Valentina Piccinni and Jean-Marc Caimi / Redux

. Left: A young woman from the right wing "Viking Union" faction of the protest, who is a history student from Kiev, says she will fight until the end of this war for freedom, as the Ukrainian people have done before.
Right: A young man brings flowers and chocolates to celebrate a friend's birthday in the Maidan. A native of the Vinnycja region, he is a clerk in a supermarket. Jean-Marc Caimi / Redux

. Left: This former soldier in the Soviet war in Afghanistan came to the Maidan to train ordinary people in self-defense for clashes with police.
Right: A man from Vinnycja serves the opposition on the main frontline on Hrushevs'koho street. He is an artist, painter and photographer. He says he is horrified by the violence of the clashes and the brutal force used by the government's special forces. Valentina Piccinni / Redux

. Left: A young man wearing a gas mask stands just beside the main Maidan square. Protesters have random access to military gear, some of which is very old and some of which is provided by private donations.
Right: A man from Vinnycja in the Carpathian region of Ukraine. He works as a professional security guard and has been in the Maidan from the very beginning of the protests. He is convinced that the protesters will win their fight for freedom. Valentina Piccinni / Redux

. Left: A young man from Lviv patrols near the Lobanovskyi Dynamo stadium, the scene of violent clashes with government forces. He works in informatics.
Right: A retired man from the Western region of Ukraine. His father fought for the country's independence, but he was arrested and imprisoned in Siberia for 22 years. He says he now wants a free country for the younger generation. He wears an "enemy" outfit, confiscated by protesters during clashes. Jean-Marc Caimi and Valentina Piccinni / Redux

. Left: Three men, who form part of the group known by the protesters as "the bears," are professional security guards in their normal life and are well trained for guerrilla situations and ready to fight. They have been fighting for the Maidan since the beginning of the clashes.
Right: A young woman from Surny in northern Ukraine, who is normally a clerk in a supermarket. She says she was shocked at entering the Maidan to see how organized the protesters were and compared it to a military camp. She will fight to the death if necessary, she added. Jean-Marc Caimi And Valentina Piccinnii / Redux

. Left: This man from Lviv is a carpenter and was watching the riots on TV when he decided to take action and come to the Maidan himself. He now patrols the main frontline near Lobanovskyi Dynamo stadium. He says he believes the situation will turn in favor of the protesters.
Right: A 20-year-old railway worker from the Cerkasy region was surprised by his own courage during the clashes. He says the media has left the rural regions of Ukraine in the dark about the protests. Jean-Marc Caimi / Redux