The extraordinary daily life of Ukrainian rescue workers

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Staff of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine (SES) selflessly rescue people from fire, water, and any other emergency. During the full-scale war they are, without any exaggeration, true heroes who work daily at the limits of human capabilities.

The aggressor country ignores all the rules of war and norms of the international law, routinely terrorizing the civilian population. During these months, Russian shelling has caused countless fires, building collapses, and other dangers – the “front line” of work for the Ukrainian emergency services. Many Ukrainians owe their lives or the lives of their loved ones to the rescuers.

Since 2017, the photographer of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine, Pavlo Petrov, has been covering the assignments of the work crews of the State Emergency Service. Together with rescuers and pyrotechnicians, he goes out to document how they extinguish fires, clear hazardous areas, and destroy unexploded ordinance. Pavlo films the valiant deeds of the rescuers, work that has already become routine for them. On behalf of each employee of the State Emergency Service, the photographer demonstrates to the world the cost we are paying to win in this full scale war.

Here is a selection of Pavlo’s photos taken after the start of the full-scale Russian invasion.

Kyiv. 14 March 2022 Another enemy shelling of a building in which civilians used to live. Human casualties followed as a result.

Kyiv. 24 February 2022 A private residential building caught fire after sustaining a hit by a Russian projectile. The building burned down, but fortunately, there were no casualties. Firefighters kept working in spite of constant shelling.

Kyiv. 26 February 2022 A missile hit a high-rise building on Lobanovskyi Avenue.

Mykolayiv. 7 September 2022 Pyrotechnicians of the State Emergency Service defuse enemy missiles. The city is shelled daily by the occupiers.

Kyiv. 8 June 2022 Rescuers clear out the debris caused by another enemy shelling.

Vinnytsia. 14 July 2022 Around 11 a.m., the occupiers fired a missile at the city centre. As of 5 p.m., 21 people died, including three children.

Kyiv. 1 March 2022 A Russian missile hit the TV tower.

Kyiv. 17 March 2022 The warehouse is on fire as a result of enemy shelling. The area of the fire is 10,000 square meters. Firefighters worked to put out the fire for more than 12 hours.

Kyiv. 6 May 2022 Rescuers extinguish the fire that engulfed a hotel. 5 people were rescued, at least 98 were evacuated.

The material is prepared by

Founder of Ukraїner:

Bogdan Logvynenko


Photo editor:

Khrystyna Kulakovska


Anna Yabluchna


Natalia Ponedilok


Pavel Petrov

Content manager:

Kateryna Minkina


Vladyslav Solodovnyk

Translation editor:

Hanna Uraieva

Yuliia Tymoshenko

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