Evgeniy Maloletka, a Ukrainian photojournalist, received the Visa d’Or, one of his profession’s most illustrious awards, on Saturday for his coverage of the disastrous Russian siege of Mariupol
At a ceremony in the southern French city of Perpignan, Maloletka dedicated his medal to the Ukrainian people, appearing visibly moved.
The 35-year-old journalist, who works for the Associated Press news agency, was among the first journalists to enter Mariupol on February 23 — an hour before the first Russian bombs began to fall — along with his AP colleague video journalist Mstyslav Chernov.
He was also among the last to depart, leaving the city on March 15 after Russian artillery had nearly completely destroyed it.
Those 20 days he spent there, he told AFP, were like one long, unending day, “becoming worse and worse”.
His photographs captured the entire atrocities of the fighting there, including infants slain during the siege, expectant mothers laying among the rubble of bombed-out structures, and hastily constructed community graves.
Outrage was generated all around the world by the Russian shelling of this port city with 400,000 residents, particularly a direct attack on a maternity hospital.
The other two photographers were Australian-born Daniel Berehulak, who covered the killing of people in Bucha, a town outside of Kiev, for the New York Times in “People lived here,” and American Marcus Yam, who covered “The fall of Afghanistan” for the Los Angeles Times.
One of the main subjects of the International Festival of Photojournalism, which began on August 27, has been the conflict in Ukraine.