As war rages, AP documents the upheaval of millions.
With hundreds of hours of live coverage, gripping portraits of people fleeing and broader takes on the impact of the migration wave, AP’s multiformat team covering people displaced by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has provided unrivaled coverage of Europe’s biggest refugee crisis since World War II.
AP journalists posted at Ukraine’s borders with Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary and Moldova, and within Ukraine itself, have put a human face to the mass movement of refugees, mostly women and children who have left their homes traumatized and exhausted, sometimes after being trapped for days or weeks in their basements to escape bombardment.
With regional news director Amer Cohadzic supervising the operation across formats, Rome-based senior producer Maria Grazia Murru coordinating video coverage and Czech Republic video journalist Adam Pemble organizing logistics, the teams cooperated seamlessly across borders and formats to spot trends in the flow of refugees, helping each other broaden their with observations and interviews from multiple locations.
Many of the text contributions have come from Vanessa Gera in Poland, Justin Spike in Hungary and Stephen McGrath in Romania. Still images have come from photographers Andreea Alexandru, Bernat Armangue, Daniel Cole, Petros Giannakouris, Sergei Grits, Petr Josek, Visar Kryeziu, Markus Schreiber, Czarek Sokolowski and Anna Szilagyi, among others. Video contributors have included Florent Bajrami, Rafal Niedzielski, Helena Alves, Bela Szandelszky, Eldar Emric and satellite dish operator Zenel Zhinipotoku. Regional migration team leader Renata Brito has contributed from Spain, Romania and Ukraine.
AP’s coverage started a week before the war began, when a multiformat team documented the calm prevailing at the Medyka border crossing in Poland, which just days later would become a main entry point for tens of thousands of Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion.
In the month since, the team and colleagues elsewhere in Europe have worked tirelessly to capture the surge, from the stress on countries accepting the brunt of new arrivals to the threat of human trafficking to the generosity shown by volunteers. Some in host countries have opened their homes to the refugees — drawing comparisons with the less-than-receptive welcome shown to many refugees and migrants from the Middle East and Africa during Europe’s previous migration crisis in 2015-16.
For chronicling the exodus of an estimated 3.5 million Ukrainians, the biggest displacement of refugees within Europe since the 1940s, with compassion, vigor and dedication to the story, the AP border/refugee teams earn Best of the Week – First Winner.