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News

Ukrainian photographer Evgeniy Maloletka's report on the siege of Mariupol wins World Press Photo award

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.

  • Iryna Kalinina (32), an injured pregnant woman, is carried from a maternity hospital that was damaged during a Russian airstrike in Mariupol, Ukraine. Her baby, named Miron (after the word for ‘peace’) was stillborn, and half an hour later Iryna died as well. An OSCE report concluded the hospital was deliberately targeted by Russia, resulting in three deaths and some 17 injuries.
  • Marina Yatsko and her boyfriend Oleksandr Kulahin bring her 18-month-old son Kirill, fatally wounded during shelling, to a hospital in Mariupol, Ukraine.
  • Russian army tanks move through a street on the outskirts of Mariupol, Ukraine.
  • Zhanna Goma (right) and her neighbors settle in a bomb shelter in Mariupol, Ukraine.
  • Serhiy Kralya, a civilian injured during shelling by Russian forces, rests after surgery at a hospital in Mariupol, Ukraine.
  • An explosion erupts from an apartment building on Mytropolytska Street, Mariupol, Ukraine, after fire from a Russian army tank.
  • People place dead bodies in a mass grave in an old cemetery in Mariupol, Ukraine. According to the BBC, on some days, up to 150 people a day were buried in mass graves during periods of heavy Russian shelling.

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.

  • Consoled by her partner Yevgeniy Vlasenko and her mother Lyubov, Yana Bachek cries over the body of her father Victor Gubarev (79), killed while buying bread during the shelling of Kharkiv, Ukraine.

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.

  • Viktor (23) carries his wife Oksana Balandina (23) in a Lviv hospital, Ukraine. The couple married while Oksana was in hospital, and Viktor carried her like this for their first dance.

Photographer Simone Tramonte's Net-Zero Transition and Cezar Dezfuli's Passengers were recognized as winners in the “Long-Term Projects” and “Open Format” sections respectively.

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.

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