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War Museum Staff Missions to Recover & Record

Ukraine War Museum staff close the museum, disassemble and conceal the artefacts before mobilising themselves on missions to collect artefacts and record evidence of crimes committed by Russian troops. Milena Chorna from the War Museum in Kyiv, Ukraine explains that “we decided to make it our mission - to share the truth of what is happening with Ukraine in the ongoing war”.

Milena explains that teams led by Director General Dr Yurii Savchuk bravely visit newly de-occupied regions to retrieve culturally significant remnants and reminders of violence from heritage sites, salvage important artwork and record the damage done.

Despite the deep distressing nature of the work, the team members bravely continue their missions to collect and assemble artefacts rescued from violence. Hoping that they can continue to speak of a nation’s heritage whilst valiantly narrating its history in the making.

Dr Yurii Savchuk’s teams have used some of their findings to help inform an exhibition series called “Ukraine- Crucifixion” developed by Yurii Savchuk and Anton Logov. Currently part of this series called "Ukraine. Crucifixion. Tribunal" is on display in New York, it's situated across the street from the UN Headquarters – A rousing call to action, urging the United Nations to vote for a tribunal over war crimes in Ukraine.

Away from the theatre geopolitics, the teams get on with salvaging moments of meaning and memory. They record first-hand, the everyday effects of war and its ruinous effects on country and culture. They acknowledge the entangled emotions of trauma and loss whilst piecing together evidence of evil.

Milena modestly tells me, "The biggest challenge for Ukrainian museum workers at present is to continue doing our work regardless of the circumstances, under fire and frequent missile attacks. To gather the evidence, until it's gone, with our own hands, as it is being done by Yurii Savchuk and his team. To go into the liberated settlements when the blood on the ground is still fresh and the air is saturated with the smell of dead flesh. To witness the consequences of the atrocities and share them with the world from inside, being immersed and traumatised ourselves. But we keep on going and doing our job". Milena Chorna 05/04/2023

Thank you Milena, it was a honour to share your team's story

Title Image and all others in this article by Viktor Byshev during missions by Museum's team.

Lukiyanivka by Viktor Byshev

Peremoga by Viktor Byshev

Peremoga by Viktor Byshev

Makovishe by Viktor Byshev

Donetsk Region by Viktor Byshev


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