Evacuees Turned Away By Separatists
30 March, 2015

Russian journalist and photographer Victoria Ivleva together with Yevhen Kaplin, a volunteer from Kharkiv, coordinated the evacuation of a few dozen people from Luhansk to Ukraine-controlled territory on March 17.

Victoria was travelling to the self-declared Luhansk People’s Republic to meet a bus with those who want to flee, and accompany them to the government-controlled territory. Victoria works with a group of Ukrainian volunteers from Kharkiv that help evacuate people from rebel-held areas to government controlled areas. Their efforts are financed by donations from across Ukraine and Russia. Ivleva is a Russian citizen and was under the impression that this would help her get the evacuees through the checkpoint. Her phone was ringing non-stop for all 6 hours on the way there: overall more than 60 people wanted to evacuate that day.

However, after she set off for a checkpoint no one was able to contact her. It turned out later that Victoria along with dozens of evacuees were arrested by the separatists. They took all her belongings away and detained her for 4 hours.

Victoria was subsequently released and went on foot to see those who had got through the checkpoint earlier that day on passenger cars. The people from the bus, however, were escorted to Luhansk.

// Video and Text by Angelina Kariakina. Filmed on 03.17.2015