After months of preparation, the Ukrainian counteroffensive has begun in the east of the country, a key front for the Kyiv government. The Ukrainian armed forces have been preparing a large-scale operation aimed at breaking through Russian defenses and reconquering territory lost after the invasion.
Two weeks before the counteroffensive, a team of four journalists from EL PAÍS covered the 750-mile (1,200 kilometer) front line that runs between Kharkov to Kherson. It was a journey through the daily life of civilians and soldiers, who shared their fears and hopes after 15 months of a war that has reached a decisive moment.
The team visited cities such as Kupiansk, Izium, Zaporizhzhia, Nikopol and Kherson, where life and death live side by side in this strange conflict, which has shocked all of Europe. Here are more details about the different stops of the trip.
About this project
A multimedia team of four journalists from EL PAÍS traveled across eastern Ukraine, covering 1,200 kilometers between Kharkiv and Kherson, in the weeks prior to the counter-offensive that will determine how far can the country go in its quest to liberate the territory conquered by Russia.
Dozens of testimonies from civilians and soldiers collected along the front line portray the impact that a long-lasting war is having on the day-to-day life of the population: drinking beer in a bar while receiving a Telegram notice that a missile will fall on you shortly; life in a line of towns that have become part of the battle front; what it is like to celebrate your golden anniversary in the middle of a devastated city; the daily life of the soldiers, which also consists of many moments of waiting; the fear of living across from the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, now occupied by Russia, in the middle of a conflict; being a teenager and living 12 kilometers from the dangerous Bakhmut front, confined at home and receiving online classes; and finally Kiyv's search for Russian collaborators.
It is a series of seven reports about how life goes on despite everything, in the middle of the violence and destruction of war, at a decisive moment for Ukraine: a counter-offensive where its destiny is at stake.