RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The war in the eastern Ukrainian region known as the Donbas began in 2014, lasted five years and has killed over 13,000 people, displaced millions, and led to the worst rupture in relations between the Russian Federation and the West since the end of the Cold War.
The war was caused by inherent cleavages in Ukrainian society, combined with clumsy and self-interested intervention by outside powers.
The war’s effects on Ukraine have been profound: the collapse of the post-Soviet Ukrainian political elite; billions of dollars in direct and indirect losses to the Ukrainian economy; a wholesale restructuring of the Ukrainian armed forces; social dislocation and psychological trauma; and unprecedented environmental damage.
Declaring the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR, respectively), armed Russian-backed separatist groups seized government buildings throughout the Donbas, leading to armed conflict with the Ukrainian government forces.
You can see how Ukrainians behaved in the Donbass in this documentary.
Back in 2015, Anne-Laure Bonnel, a young director, and mother of a French family decides to accompany Alexander, a father of a Ukrainian family, to the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine in a pro-Russian zone.
At the heart of the war, she captures the terrible images of a deadly conflict and an unprecedented humanitarian disaster.