Full Ukrainian Dichotomy collection.

The president is in uniform, children carry rifles, and Molotov cocktail recipes become a household item. As millions of Ukrainians migrate and contribute to one of the largest growing diasporas, those who have suited up to defend their home are confronted with a dichotomous world. 

While the tension with Russia has been ever-present since Ukraine’s independence, many in the West probably could barely point out Kyiv on a map. Diasporans who have fled war and conflict therefore represent not only a global voice for their country, but also a beacon of hope for rebuilding and mobilizing to help their compatriots who brave the storm back home. 

“Ukrainians abroad advocate for providing Ukrainian defenders with protective equipment, weapons, and defensive systems, gather millions of dollars in humanitarian and military aid, and support a well-developed network of credible volunteer organizations,” said Anton Pechenkin, coordinator of the UCMC press center in a panel discussion on the Ukrainian diaspora. 

Diasporans and their efforts are seen and heard around the world, and make their way to Ukraine where those who remain continue to face increasing dichotomies in their daily lives. Remnants of cities which attracted tourists not long ago shine through the rubble, and those who live under bombs still manage to crack a smile or juggle a football. Traditional folkloric garments are traded in for camouflage and stuffed animals for weapons. Trains are flooded with those trying to escape, while other Ukrainians refuse to leave. 

For this month’s series Diasporas and Dichotomies, IMAGO’s photographers urge us to see the varying truths that lie behind the image of war and conflict, which lives parallel to the persistent human spirit to keep-calm-and-carry-on. 

Group 2
(top) IMAGO / Zuma Wire / Michal Burza | Olena Vasilenko organizes food for residents in Kharkiv, Ukraine. 26 June, 2022 (bottom) IMAGO / GlobalImagens / Luis Alves | Factory on the outskirts of Lviv where Molotov cocktails are mass produced. 2 March, 2022.
Group 1
(left) IMAGO / Zuma Wire / Valeria Ferraro | Soldiers celebrate the liturgy of Catholic Easter in Lviv, Ukraine. 17 April, 2022 (right) IMAGO / Agencia EFE / Miguel Gutiérrez | Ukrainians attend an Orthodox Easter service in Lviv, Ukraine. 24 April 2022.
Group 8
(left) IMAGO / Zuma Wire / Carol Guzy | Tatiana Sergiivna Petrovska, 72 years old at her home in Bucha, Ukraine decided to stay. 9 April, 2022. (right) IMAGO / Agencia EFE / Orlando Barria | A woman boards a train at Pokrovsk station to leave Ukraine. 02 July 2022.
Group 5
(left) IMAGO / Shutterstock / Paul Currie | Mykhaylo Mudryk of Ukraine, Ireland v Ukraine, UEFA Nations League. 8 June, 2022 (right) IMAGO / Zuma Wire / Andriy Andriyenko | A boy juggles a football near the Kramatorsk bus station. 24 February, 2022.
Group 10
(top) IMAGO / El Mundo / Alberto Rojas | A Ukrainian paratrooper, in uniform in Lviv. 10 April, 2021. (bottom) IMAGO / Ukrinform / Markiian Lyseiko | Vyshyvanka, an intricate headpiece worn during the Etnovyr 2021 International Folklore Festival, Lviv. 20 August, 2021.
Group 3
(left) IMAGO / Zuma Wire / Israel Fugmann | A refugee from Ukraine in Chisinau, Moldova. 29 March, 2022. (right) IMAGO / NurPhoto / Celestino Arce | Frontlines Of Zaporizhzhia. 12 June 2022.
Group 11
(top) IMAGO / Zuma Wire / Michal Burza | Slaviansk, Ukraine: Vladimir Vasilievich (71) in the yard of the destroyed house of his relatives. 3 July, 2022. (bottom) IMAGO / Zuma Wire / Mykola Tys | Lviv, Lvivska, Ukraine. 7 December, 2021.
Group 7
(left) IMAGO / NurPhoto / Beata Zawrzel | Reception point for Ukrainian refugees in Krakow, Poland. 16 March, 2022. (right) IMAGO / Ukrinform / Serhii Hudak | A girl holds a rifle during a military drill for civilians in Siurte, Ukraine. 19 February, 2022.
Group 4
(top) IMAGO / Zuma Wire | President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tours the destruction of residential buildings in Kharkiv, Ukraine. 29 May, 2022. (bottom) IMAGO / Zuma Wire / Sergei Chuzavkov | Children play territorial defense fighters patrolling in Stoyanka, Kyiv region. 19 May, 2022.
Group 6
(top) IMAGO / Panthermedia | St. Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv. 12 October, 2020. (bottom) IMAGO / Zuma Wire / Matthew Hatcher | Smoke rises on the horizon following missile strikes soon Lviv. 18 April, 2022.
Group 9
(top) IMAGO / Zoonar | New Years market in the old town of Kyiv. 6 January, 2020. (bottom) IMAGO / NurPhoto / Maxym Marusenko | Maidan 8th Anniversary in Kyiv, monument dedicated to activists killed in anti-government protests in 2014. 20 February, 2022.
Written by columnist Sofia Bergmann as part of this month’s series, Diasporas & Dichotomy.