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A Ukrainian photographer is using TikTok to turn war zone destruction into art


Sirens blare within the distance. Everywhere she appears, there’s devastation. Windows are cracked and items of wooden and constructing particles lie scattered within the streets. The streets are eerily empty.

This is the scene that Ukrainian photographer Valeria Shashenok witnesses day-after-day when she walks down the road in war-torn Chernihiv, Ukraine. Shashenok is taking shelter in an underground bunker together with her mom, father and canine “Tory” within the northern Ukrainian metropolis. Her shut buddies have already fled.

But as an alternative of wallowing within the destruction round her, Shashenok has turned the war into art.

Shashenok is using TikTok to doc her day by day life. Her movies have gone viral, some getting hundreds of thousands of views.

In the video that made her well-known, Shashenok dances to “Che La Luna” with the caption, “My typical day in a bomb shelter.” She makes use of a warmth gun like a hairdryer as her canine hides underneath a blanket. Her mom cooks over a pot on the ground.

In one other video, Shashenok stands earlier than a pile of rubble. The caption says, “Today Putin destroyed one of the old building(s) in my city. It was a cinema that survived World War II.” Then she exhibits massive home windows close by, the glass shattered on the bottom. “Windows flew out from the force of impact in neighboring houses too.”

In one more, she exhibits the naked cabinets of grocery a retailer with the caption: “If you want to buy food in a supermarket during the war in Ukraine.”

When requested by CNN’s Pamela Brown on Sunday why she began posting these movies on Tik Tok, Shashenok mentioned, “I feel it’s like my mission to show people how it looks in real life. That it’s real life, and I’m here.”

She continued, “Many Russian people write me that we are with you. … In Russia, (there is) a lot of fake news. And most of the people don’t believe that in my country we have a war. … My mission (is) to show (the) whole world that it’s happen(ing) now in real life, and you can see now (the) war (o)n Tik Tok.”

Tik Tok introduced Sunday that it will droop some options in Russia in mild of the nation’s new “fake news” regulation penalizing misinformation.

But even with rising stardom, Shashenok is anxious concerning the destiny of her nation. “Every day I live with a hope that tomorrow war will end, but everything is getting worse.” Shashenok wrote to CNN’s Meanwhile in America on Sunday. On Monday, she wrote to CNN, “Everyone is scared (for) their life.”

In latest days, hopes for opening up protected evacuation corridors for civilians out of quite a few cities, together with Chernihiv, have been repeatedly dashed, with Ukraine accusing Russia of attacking escape routes.

Like many individuals in Ukraine, Shashenok’s household is hesitant to depart as proof grows of Russian violence towards Ukrainian civilians. Asked by CNN on Monday whether or not she and her household would try to flee throughout a deliberate ceasefire, Shashenok mentioned, “If Russian troops will not kill civilians tomorrow, yes I will go on (the) 9th (of) March.” Asked once more Tuesday, Shashenok mentioned her household had no plans but to depart the bunker.

Even with the concern of encroaching violence from Russia, Shashenok nonetheless has massive desires. She advised CNN on Monday that Tik Tok is her future now.

“Maybe I (can) come to (the) United Stated and work like a Tik Tok journalist,” she mentioned.

Hope for a brand new life and a brand new starting is what retains Shashenok going. “People need to value freedom. It’s the most important (thing) we have.”



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