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Food for thought: what are Ukraine’s troops fed in Donbass?

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What fuels modern war? The short, pragmatic answer is sausage sandwiches, tinned sprats and cigarettes. These are just some of the rations consumed on the front lines in eastern Ukraine, keeping the 60,000 soldiers serving in the territory going from breakfast till dinner. In their unconventional take on war photography, photographer Mishka Bochkarev and food-stylist Natasha Ovramenko explore conflict through the prism of food. “We visited the Donbass region to see what today’s soldiers are fed. We collected documentary material also from numerous military units and the navy, which we then reinterpreted in the studio,” Bochkarev says of the series, which includes not only foodstuffs but military objects found on the front lines. Styled in a way that resembles both early 17th-century vanitas paintings and high-end fashion editorials, the series was released as a calendar, designed by Anatoly Kovbel for a Ukrainain charity called Come Back Alive, with all proceeds going to support the troops in the ATO zone. More than just a reminder of the war ongoing in eastern Ukraine, this glimpse into the daily lives of the Ukrainian armed forces is set out to raise awareness of the soldiers’ absence in contemporary media. 

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