The all-formats team of Hanna Arhirova, Vasilisa Stepanenko, Efrem Lukatsky and Maria Grazia Murru was quick to react when Russian missiles struck Vinnytsia in west-central Ukraine, killing 24, including a 4-year-old girl who became the subject of a widely publicized video.
As soon as it became evident that this was a significant attack, photographer Lukatsky used his extensive contacts to secure a spot on a helicopter taking the interior minister to the scene, where Lukatsky filed first photos.
At the same time, senior producer Maria Grazia Murru dispatched text reporter Arhirova and video journalist Stepanenko to the scene three hours away with driver Roman Hrytsyna. Upon arrival they secured dramatic footage of the attack’s immediate aftermath from local TV, then gained access to the building next door where they conducted exclusive interviews with survivors.
The strong coverage continued into the following day, including a sensitive interview with the great-aunt of the youngest victim, 4-year-old Liza Dmytrieva. Shortly before the missile strike, the girl’s mother had posted video on social media showing her daughter straining to push her stroller on a trip to see a speech therapist. That poignant video went viral after the girl's death, attracting much media attention, as did Lukatsky’s photo of the blood-stained stroller.
AP’s interview gave the team a chance to ask permission to cover the child’s funeral; only one other international news outlet had access. Lukatsky’s powerful images of the family bent over Liza’s open coffin, and the accompanying text and video, were widely used — compelling coverage that brought home the suffering of innocent civilians.