Ukrainian photographer Evgeniy Maloletka has been named as a winner of the 2023 World Press Photo prize in the Europe category.
Four other photographers were named winners alongside Maloletka, two of them with images from the war in Ukraine. Maloletka's report on the siege of Mariupol was recognized in the category's “Stories” section.
Maloletka and his colleague Mstyslav Chernov were the first journalists to enter Mariupol on February 23 on assignment from the Associated Press news agency and the last to leave the city on March 15. Maloletka's images captured the consequences of the Russian airstrike on the Mariupol maternity hospital on March 9, 2022, along with the mass graves spread across the city, the impacts of Russian shells, along with the casualties caused by their explosions.
Maloletka commented on the award following the announcement:
“The Russian siege of Mariupol took the lives of thousands of Ukrainians. They were shot in their homes by tanks with the letter 'Z', and fighter jets dropped bombs on medical facilities, the drama theater, and Khrushchev-era five-story homes. Houses were on fire and no one could put them out because the firefighters were also bombed. They [the Russians] destroyed the city, killing its inhabitants with children, and left the survivors to wander the world, and then called it 'Liberation.'
Mstyslav Chernov and I managed to record many Russian crimes against our country.
For me, this is a tragic event that I want to forget, but the photos and videos will not allow me to do so.”
Photographer Alkis Konstantinidis was also noted in the Europe category's “Singles” section for his work Yana and Victor, taken during the Russian shelling of Kharkiv.
Emilio Morenatti's War Wounds series, depicting people who suffered amputations as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, was also recognized as an honorable mention.
The 24 World Press Photo winners were selected from more than 60,000 entries by 3,752 photographers from 127 countries.
Evgeniy Maloletka has been covering the war in Ukraine since 2014. He has also covered the Euromaidan Revolution, the protests in Belarus, the Nagorno-Karabakh war and the COVID-19 pandemic in Ukraine.
His work during the siege of Mariupol in 2022 has been recognized with the Knight International Journalism Award, the Visa d’or News Award and the Prix Bayeux Calvados-Normandie. He has also received awards from Italy, Germany, Norway and the United States. In December 2022, Maloletka was named Agency Photographer of the Year by The Guardian.