The Harrowing Vanishing of Orphaned Teens Trapped in Russia

BERLIN, Germany—The mother of Veronika Trubitsyna, 13, and Anastasiia Trubitsyna, 15, died one hour before Russian police forced the sisters to pack their few belongings and move into a nearby orphanage. Without any legal guardians in Russia, they were told they would become wards of the state. For nine months, the sisters were trapped in a system that sought to feed them pro-war propaganda and encourage them to become Russian citizens. Now out of Russia’s grasp, Veronika spoke with The Daily B

Life in the Underground Commune of Horrors Created by Putin’s War

VELYKA NOVOSILKA—Residents who have remained in the small village of Velyka Novosilka in the Donetsk Oblast of Ukraine are living in an underground commune and refusing to leave, despite pleas from the police. The village was once home to around 4,700 Ukrainians, according to Olya Semibratova, one of the volunteers who regularly deliver aid to the communes. But Russia’s attacks have turned it into a ghost town, where the remaining 304 citizens risk death by setting foot outside. In the early da

Putin’s War Has Caused a Huge Plastic Surgery Boom in Ukraine

KYIV—Ukrainian surgeons are performing a strenuous new wartime medical procedure: providing facial reconstruction surgery for people injured in Russian attacks. They are teaching themselves to perform medical services they never expected to do, racing against time to decide what can and cannot be saved, working through screams from patients and air raid sirens, and struggling to afford critically needed supplies. One miscalculation might cause irreversible damage. “We never expected such a war

Major Russian Victory Feared as Soldier Delivers Grim Message

DONETSK, Ukraine—The wrath of Russia’s army is on full display in Bakhmut, with the majority of surviving civilians having fled the ongoing bloodbath while Ukrainian soldiers fight to save the city. Now that Vladimir Putin’s forces are closing in, those who have been pulled out fear what is at stake for their fellow soldiers. One soldier, who goes by the name “Detcom,” spoke with The Daily Beast hours just after leaving the terrorized Bakhmut after a month of fighting. Detcom is in the 206th b

What It's Like to Be Under the Knife Mid-Air Raid

Air raid sirens blare throughout Kyiv two days before the one-year mark of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The threat is unclear, but social media apps suggest that missiles might be launched in the direction of Kyiv. At the Anacosma Clinic, Dr. Taras Baranov pays little attention to the possible attacks; he is in the middle of performing a blepharoplasty surgery. In Kyiv, women are turning a beauty practice into an act of defiance and feminine resilience. They are having plastic surgery work

One Year of War: In Conversation with Ukrainians Standing Fast

Air raid sirens blared through the streets of Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, on February 22, warning civilians to seek shelter from the threat of Russian missile attacks. For the next hour, Ukrainian citizens would be uncertain if Russia was already beginning its expected attacks marking the one-year anniversary, on February 24, 2022, of the launch of its aggressive war on Ukraine. But most people, myself included, went on with their day — one year into the war, I have seen Ukrainians grow accustomed

Putin Threatens New Disaster for Soviet Horror Survivors

LVIV, Ukraine—Vladimir Putin has consistently used the oppression of Jews to justify his full-scale invasion of Ukraine. While countless Ukrainian cities are burned to the ground, and civilian casualties continue to rise, the Russian president has claimed that his war has been made in the name of de-nazifying the neighboring country. Instead, it has invoked the horrors of World War II into the lives of Russia’s public. Few Jewish communities in Ukraine have been depleted like that in Lviv, the

Winter Has Come: Reporting From Lviv as Russia Attacks Ukraine’s Infrastructure

Over the past 10 months, attacks by Russian forces on Lviv have been sparse, nowhere near as intense as those on Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, or on the frontlines in the eastern part of the country. But now, after a string of new attacks that left no area of Ukraine unscathed, even Lviv is struggling to provide crucially needed heat, water, and electricity to its 700,000 residents, as temperatures plunge below freezing every day. On November 15, Russia launched approximately 100 missiles at targets

Navigating a War Zone: Ukrainian Railways in Conversation

Whether in New York City or on the outskirts of Kyiv, riding a rail line can be maddeningly tedious—lugging luggage, trying to comprehend garbled announcements, rushing to platforms. Trains might not run on time, and once the journey begins, they may move slowly, leaving passengers to wonder if they have made any progress. Engineers sit at the head of the train, tucked away, unseen; conductors move through the cars, collecting tickets, answering riders’ questions. Each day these engineers and co

Beauty in the face of war: What Ukraine's beauty industry workers did after the Russian invasion

"Of course, this is not easy; we have to readjust, study local laws, rules, customs, speech patterns, and people's behaviour, and much more to better understand the culture and feel comfortable. During [this] half a year, we got used to our new life, many things became clear and not as complicated as it seemed at first glance. But of course, any change takes time," said Vikhliaieva. Now that the family is settled, Vikhliaieva said that while she misses Ukraine, her parents, relatives, and everyo

Inside the Grueling Mission to Help Russia’s Rape Victims

A network of two dozen organizations has been tasked with the critical role of helping Ukrainians who claim to have been sexually assaulted by Russian soldiers since the start of Vladimir Putin’s devastating war in Ukraine. The network operates throughout the country, often in some of the war’s most dangerous hotspots, and offers anonymous support to anyone who requests help, ranging from sending rape kits to Russian-occupied villages to providing trauma support to survivors of sexual violence.

A Soldier’s Life: Conversations Inside Ukraine’s Defense Force

Kydrava did not expect to be stationed on the frontlines of the war. She did not expect that, for five months, she and her unit would be facing constant combat, or that she would never have a chance to catch her breath. The idea of Russia launching a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in the 21st century did not seem to her like something that could really happen. But then that unthinkable scenario became reality—Kydrava has spent the time since the first attacks living at the forefront of Russia’s

Russia's Invasion Will Keep Killing Ukrainians for Decades After the War Ends

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is poisoning the country’s land, air, water, and climate in a way that will have longstanding repercussions, according to the Ukrainian government and organizations on the ground. Ukraine’s Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources has recorded at least 1,200 environmental disasters in the two-plus months since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched the invasion. Those disasters are not only undermining Ukraine’s efforts to preserve its natural e

Families Caught in Russia’s War on Ukraine

A border on a map is all that separates eastern Ukraine from Russia. Across that boundary exist similar cultures, and citizens who have referred to each other as close kin. Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, has destroyed all of that in a month, by invading Ukraine. He has set the two nations against each other for Russia’s political gain and territorial expansion. The attack has resulted, so far (though these numbers are constantly changing), in over three million refugees fleeing Ukraine to P

A Dead-Name Passport and 16,500 Followers: How Zi Faámelu Escaped Ukraine

Zi Faámelu was getting desperate. It was five days into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, five days since President Volodymyr Zelensky had declared martial law, and the 31-year-old musician, artist, and Instagram influencer knew she had to get out of Kyiv — and fast. She’d been trapped in her apartment, listening to the shelling around her. She was running out of food and kept a knife by her side. She was the only person left in her apartment building and afraid of who might try to break into her ho

Fear and Loathing – The View From Moscow

It’s been three weeks since Russia invaded Ukraine. In that time, the world has turned its focus to the people who have been caught in the middle of the war, and the atrocities brought on by Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin. In many countries, citizens have stood in solidarity with Ukraine, and even in Russia, where people live under an authoritarian government, there has been dissent. Recently, a Crimean native who now lives in New York City put us in contact with a relative who lives in Mosc