As the sun sets in the almost deserted city of Kyiv, people draw their curtains, dim the lights, and wait for some nighttime angst.
n Monday when Irish Independent As photographer Mark Condren was driven through the bombed remains of the Ukrainian capital, it was that darkness, an impenetrable black, that upset him the most.
“After nightfall there is absolute silence and total darkness,” he said of his two-day visit to Ukraine.
“The lights are off all over the city. There is nobody on the streets, no other cars, no people, not even a dog. We sat in a car with no lights. It’s completely dark so the military can see you coming with a torch in your face. It’s incredibly scary.”
Along with Fianna Fáil, Senator Timmy Dooley, and Billy Kelleher MEP, Mr Condren traveled to Kyiv and the neighboring countries of Irpin and Bucha to witness the devastating effects of the war.
Mr Dooley, Vice-President of the EU Group ALDE, was invited by Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Olga Stefanishyna together with Mr Kelleher.
“Basically, we’ve witnessed firsthand the attacks on citizens and civilians,” he said Irish Independent.
“What we saw were burnt-out house shells. We saw neighborhoods completely destroyed, houses bombed and bombarded by tanks, rockets and gunfire. We saw gunfire on the fronts of houses and windows and spoke to some of the people trying to come back after Ukrainian forces pushed back the attacker.
“They told us that the Russian soldiers attacked them in their homes, looted and burned houses. They attacked and shot people, some of them on the side of the road.”
The group also witnessed the excavation of a temporary burial ground near a church in Bucha, where locals buried the dead after a shooting spree by Russian soldiers.
“I’ve never seen anything like it in my life,” said Mr. Dooley.
“We saw civilians buried in body bags being pulled up. The international crime scene investigators were there because it is very clear that they were innocent civilians who were effectively being murdered by the Russian regime.
“From what we have seen and heard from people in the region, there is no doubt that these are war crimes. It was a pure attack by the Russian Federation on the citizens of Irpin and Bucha.
“We were there in listening mode while we were there. Some people came up to us and didn’t say anything, they just cried.”
In Bucha, Mr Condren was stopped by an elderly resident who asked him to witness the damage to her home from Russian shelling.
“She was a very old lady and she took me to her apartment,” he said.
“It was just a mess, she had no bathroom and no toilet. She had nothing. Literally nothing was fired at her anymore. She didn’t cry. You took care of all the crying.”
Mr Kelleher, who called for tougher sanctions against Russia, said the visit gave them only a glimpse of the devastation inflicted on the Ukrainian people and he feared the levels of death and destruction in other areas could be far worse could.
“We can only imagine the horrors that were being wreaked elsewhere,” he said.
“We only saw a small geographic area of Ukraine, an area that was occupied by Russian troops for maybe two to three weeks. If the damage done there is replicated in other parts of Ukraine, appalling tragedies will be exposed in terms of civilian deaths and wanton destruction of innocent people.”
https://www.independent.ie/world-news/europe/she-wasnt-crying-they-have-all-the-crying-done-irish-photographers-heartbreaking-portraits-of-ukraine-41548509.html “She didn’t cry. You’ve done all the crying’: an Irish photographer’s heartbreaking portraits of Ukraine