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A brief game of football on Ukraine frontline

Tuesday 17 February 2015 - Eye witness

Ukrainian servicemen play football on a road at Svitlodarsk, near Debaltseve, during a ceasefire on February 15, 2015 (AFP Photo / Volodymyr Shuvayev)

"The spontaneous kickabout really felt like a moment that was truly relaxing", writes Volodymyr Shuvayev, a freelance photographer working for AFP in Eastern Ukraine, who witnessed this scene at an Ukrainian checkpoint during a ceasefire between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian rebels on February 15. "So I started shooting. I hoped the pictures would speak for themselves and illustrate the spirit of a ceasefire. It's an iconic image-- the soldier celebrating a halt in fighting with a simple game of football."

(Photo: AFP / Volodymyr Shuvayev)

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Raining fire in Donetsk

Tuesday 3 February 2015 - Eye witness

People take cover during shelling in a residential area in Donetsk's Kyibishevsky district, on January 30, 2015 (AFP PHOTO / DOMINIQUE FAGET)

"In Donetsk the sound of explosions is always there, in the background." writes AFP reporter Simon Valmary. "Heavy artillery, mortar fire, rockets: after nine months of fighting, residents of the town held by pro-Russian rebels can tell most types of blast apart…. But without knowing, most of the time, who is bombing whom. Civilians try their best to go about their daily lives in spite of these shells that can fall from anywhere, at any time, striking people dead on the sidewalk."

(Photo: AFP / Dominique Faget)

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Dead soldiers in the snow

Tuesday 9 December 2014 - Behind the image

The recently damaged Savur Mogyla monument to Red Army soldiers fallen in World War II, near the eastern Ukrainian city of Snizhnee on December 7, 2014 (AFP PHOTO / ERIC FEFERBERG)

"It was bitterly cold on the hilltop, with an icy wind whipping up gusts of snow. We had come to attend a ceremony in memory of fallen pro-Russian rebels -- held at the vast Savur-Mogyla World War II memorial," writes AFP photographer Eric Feferberg. "It is a truly Dantean complex that was partly destroyed in fighting between Ukrainian government troops and separatists in July and August. Being there, you had both a sense of real beauty and nostalgia, and of utter desolation."

(AFP Photo / Eric Feferberg)

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Covering conflict for the first time

Monday 19 May 2014 - Eye witness

A pro-Russia rebel poses at a checkpoint in Slavyansk, May 10, 2014. (AFP Photo/Vasily Maximov)

"Before leaving for three weeks to cover the tensions in eastern Ukraine between the army and pro-Russian rebels, I had never covered conflict," writes AFP video reporter Agnes Bun. "Like everyone, I’ve seen films and read books on the subject. And before I left, I’d gotten advice from more-experienced friends and colleagues who’d been in war zones. In February, AFP sent me on a special training for journalists going to hostile environments."

"But what no one had prepared me for were the moments of grace that prevailed between episodes of violence."

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'If you step into Crimea I'll break your camera'

Friday 28 March 2014 - Eye witness

Pro-Russian militiamen beat a man near the Ukrainian airbase in Belbek in Crimea, March 22, 2014. (AFP Photo/Viktor Drachev)

"An alarm sounds, followed by an explosion. A tank has just destroyed one of the concrete walls. Second blast: Another wall collapses. At the same time, an armoured personnel carrier smashes through the main gate. It’s almost 4 p.m. on Saturday March 22, and the Ukrainian base in Belbek, near Sebastopol, is under assault following an ultimatum by the Russian army." (AFP Photo/Viktor Drachev)

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The bad dream of a new Cold War

Monday 10 March 2014 - Eye witness

A man is silhouetted in a Soviet Union flag at a pro-Russian rally in St. Petersburg on March 9, 2014. (AFP Photo/Olga Maltseva)

"Russia is going to incorporate Crimea into its territory and is not going to let it go. How many times since World War II has the map of Europe been changed in a stroke like this?" writes AFP's Moscow correspondent Stuart Williams. "While I doubt there will be a military conflict, a chill is going to set in on relations between Russia and the West which is going to make other crises seem positively amenable."

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One week in Kiev

Monday 24 February 2014 - Eye witness

The toilets in the private residence of ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. (AFP Photo/Yuriy Dyachyshyn)

Just a few days ago, it seemed as though Ukraine's political crisis might be edging towards a peaceful resolution. Then everything fell apart.

Max Delany is AFP’s Caucasus correspondent, based in Tbilisi, Georgia. He is in Kiev covering the country's crisis and writes here about a historic week in Ukraine's capital. (AFP Photo/Yuriy Dyachyshyn)

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Fire, ice and blood on the streets of Kiev

Wednesday 12 February 2014 - Eye witness

Anti-government protesters walk past burnt and frozen vehicle remains in Kiev. January 23, 2014. (AFP Photo/Volodymyr Shuvayev)

AFP Moscow correspondent Stuart Williams looks back on the months of protest that have transformed Kiev, a city that he loves. (AFP Photo/Dmitry Serebryakov)

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Bare breasts, knuckles in Ukraine parliament

Thursday 20 December 2012 - Behind the image

A fight breaks out between deputies during the inaugural session of the Ukraine parliament, December 12, 2012.
AFP PHOTO/Sergei Supinsky

Bare breasts, knuckles in Ukraine parliament


A brawl between pro-government deputies and opposition members erupted in the Ukrainian parliament on December 12 and 13. “The challenge is getting the right sequence, like a raised fist or the moment a punch lands,” says AFP photographer Sergei Supinsky, who captured the extreme political wrangling with an admirable sang froid. And as lawmakers were duking it out inside parliament, topless feminists were braving freezing temperatures outside.

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Underground brilliance

Monday 3 December 2012 - Behind the image

Toledo subway station in Naples, designed by artist Oscar Tusquet Blanca.

AFP PHOTO/Mario Laporta

Underground brilliance


Like many Paris-based AFP journalists, Sylvain Estibal, photo editor-in-chief for Europe and Africa, rides the metro each day to get to work. "It’s boring, dirty and depressing,” he says. “I think to myself that people in other countries must be having more fun on their subway systems.”

And with that, he came up with the idea for the following series of photos of some of the most stunning underground stations in Europe.

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