David Butow: From Ukraine

By Peggy Roalf   Thursday March 31, 2022

Photographer David Butow, a longtime subscriber and contributor to DART, arrived in Ukraine the second week of March to cover the effects of war on ordinary people who were caught in the indiscriminate shelling of cities like Lviv and Chernevo. He covered the growing humanitarian crisis amid the escalating attacks, with people seeking shelter in makeshift camps in Poland, Moldova and Romania. David departed earlier this week through Poland; following are some of his photos and reportage for @politico


March 15, 2022. Two of the millions of refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine, this woman and her son leave for Poland and a completely unpredictable future. Lviv is one of the funnel points for people trying to get out of the country. I just finished several days photographing these refugees, tracing their steps to the border and beyond.

The escape from Ukraine has become increasingly desperate. More than 2.6 million people have fled the country as Russian troops move closer to major metro areas, shelling civilian infrastructure at random and forcing people to find last-minute transportation to take them to safety.

Train stations are constantly crowded. Aid groups are meeting civilians with food, water and donated clothes. Polish families are taking in Ukrainian refugees, offering up their homes as temporary shelters. The U.S. so far has donated over $100M to help Ukrainians by providing safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene supplies as well as surgical kits. 

 Sunday service in a Ukranian Orthodox Church in Lviv that dates to the 18th century.


Chernëvo, L'Vivs'Ka Obl Silent reverence in this village today as the body of a native son, Dmytro Vasiyuta, 20 year-old soldier killed in battle, was brought to his family’s home.  


March 17, 2022. Funeral for Ukrainian Major Ivan Skrypnk, 37, who died in combat four days ago.

March 29, 2022 A few thoughts as I wrap up my visit to Poland and Ukraine: Even far from the violence, the disruption and indignities inflicted upon the Ukrainians are brutal, millions of people having to chose between staying in their homes and possibly becoming casualties of war, or fleeing the country with nothing more than what they can carry in a backpack. 

The refugees arrive at the Polish border by train, and some on foot. It has taken most of them days to get here. One line after another, delays, confusion and uncertainty. A bright spot is the reception they receive from the Poles, in particular, and other international groups that have organized at the crossing points. There is food, medical care, even veterinarians.  


Assistance is given, as best it can be, with transportation and temporary shelter. One Ukrainian family I met, a woman and her three children, were taken in by a Polish family who lived in the countryside about an hour from the border. It was the second group the Polish family had hosted since the war started. Miron, a bright 9 year-old brought his hamster.

David Butow has been a professional photojournalist since the 1980’s. His pictures have appeared in many publications around the world including National Geographic, TIME and Paris Match. His past work includes the 1992 Los Angeles Riots, the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and the 2019 democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong. He has worked in dozens of countries and received awards from World Press Photo, Pictures of the Year International, Communications Arts and others.  

@reduxpictures#ukraine #ukrainewar #ukrainerefugees