“I Don’t Want to Live in Fear”: Words from Ukrainian Photographer, Kris Voitkiv.

To continue our series highlighting Ukrainian voices, we connected with Ukrainian photographer Kris Voitkiv, who’s currently in Ivano-Frankivsk, volunteering as part of ЦВІТ (@cvit____) an all-female collective fundraising for the needs of fighters and volunteer groups in conflict hotspots. If you would like to support through donations, you can do so here.

Kris also recommends supporting these other volunteer support groups: @savelife.in.ua - @dj69dj69dj - @kyivangels - @detali.we.are

Other useful links:

And if you know of any stories or individuals who you think should be heard on our platform, please reach out to us.

“My name is Kris Voitkiv. I am a Ukrainian girl. I was born and based in Ukraine. I am a photographer. I lived in Ivano-Frankivsk almost all my life. This is a small town near the Carpathian Mountains. All my childhood and youth I was a professional swimmer and rode all over Ukraine taking part in competitions. When my sports career ended, I became interested in photography, art and alternative culture.”

When I was young I had ambitions to live somewhere abroad, but in recent years I have felt that I do not want to leave my home and want to live here and only. I love our culture, our nature, and our people. I love Ukraine and I am very proud to be Ukrainian.”

“Three weeks before the war I moved to Kyiv and I was in the mood to start my life with a clean slate. But Russian occupation changed that, and I moved from Kyiv on 26/02/2022 — the third day of the war. On the morning of the 24th at 4:50am I woke up from the explosions. Two days before, everyone was tense, and talks about war were already everywhere. But no one expected this. No one believed that it could happen so suddenly. On February 24, everyone was in a panic and scared. There were explosions all over Kyiv. It seemed to us that at any moment a shell could fly into our house and we did not sleep for two days; constantly reading the news about how Russia is bombing Ukraine from all sides.”

“After a few days, me and my friend Natali moved back to Ivano-Frankivsk, on an evacuated train because Western Ukraine is much more quiet. Since that time, we are volunteering. Honestly, I don't know how I feel. Every minute I am overwhelmed with different emotions and I can't even follow them. But I am constantly trying to be busy volunteering and developing spiritually so that hatred and anger do not overwhelm me completely. I feel pain and hate but I try to stop it and move my heart to love and support for all people who need it right now. Love between Ukrainians [is] our superpower. And support from all over the world.”

“People can support Ukraine by speaking out and donating. Not to be indifferent — this is the most important thing. Our home is not only our country, it is the whole world. And I want to talk about donation. It is really important not to donate to the Red Cross. If you don’t know why, just Google it and you will find facts that you can not trust them. The best way is to support small local organizations who are working 24/7 and they can make a report to you for every dollar or euro. Believe me!”

www.instagram.com/cvit____

“ЦВІТ is an organization of me and seven more girls. We do a lot of work, and you can see it on Instagram.”

And once again, Kris also recommends supporting these other volunteer support groups: @savelife.in.ua - @dj69dj69dj - @kyivangels - @detali.we.are

Here are some other useful links:

And if you know of any stories or individuals who you think should be heard on our platform, please reach out to us.

[https://www.instagram.com/dj69dj69dj/?hl=ru]

Thank you to Kris, and to all the other volunteers doing inspiring work right now.

Interview by Ewan Waddell.

Photos courtesy of Kris Voitkiv.