Those of the 5th Sotnia
Those of the 5th Sotnia thumbnail
Those of the 5th Sotnia thumbnail
Those of the 5th Sotnia thumbnail
Those of the 5th Sotnia thumbnail
Those of the 5th Sotnia thumbnail
Those of the 5th Sotnia thumbnail
Those of the 5th Sotnia thumbnail
Those of the 5th Sotnia thumbnail
Those of the 5th Sotnia thumbnail
Those of the 5th Sotnia thumbnail
Those of the 5th Sotnia thumbnail
Those of the 5th Sotnia thumbnail
Those of the 5th Sotnia thumbnail
Those of the 5th Sotnia thumbnail
Those of the 5th Sotnia thumbnail
Those of the 5th Sotnia thumbnail
Those of the 5th Sotnia thumbnail
Those of the 5th Sotnia thumbnail
Those of the 5th Sotnia thumbnail
Those of the 5th Sotnia thumbnail
Those of the 5th Sotnia thumbnail
Those of the 5th Sotnia thumbnail
Those of the 5th Sotnia thumbnail
Those of the 5th Sotnia thumbnail
Those of the 5th Sotnia thumbnail
Those of the 5th Sotnia
Those of the 5th Sotnia
Those of the 5th Sotnia
Those of the 5th Sotnia
Those of the 5th Sotnia
Those of the 5th Sotnia
Those of the 5th Sotnia
Those of the 5th Sotnia
Those of the 5th Sotnia
Those of the 5th Sotnia
Those of the 5th Sotnia
Those of the 5th Sotnia
Those of the 5th Sotnia
Those of the 5th Sotnia
Those of the 5th Sotnia
Those of the 5th Sotnia
Those of the 5th Sotnia
Those of the 5th Sotnia
Those of the 5th Sotnia
Those of the 5th Sotnia
Those of the 5th Sotnia
Those of the 5th Sotnia
Those of the 5th Sotnia
Those of the 5th Sotnia
Those of the 5th Sotnia

January 29th - A man passes in front of the volunteers of the self-defense Sotnia n°5, near Maïdan Square in Kiev.

Igor, who's greek catholic, always signs himself when meeting a priest.

Igor, the Sotnik's assistant, shows his helmet and the latin motto : "The salvation of the people is the supreme law"

Igor and the Sotnia celebrate Alex's birthday. Igor will turn 28 a couple of days later.

The evening, at the hostel, Bogdan, Igor and the others watch the news.

Moment of calm at the hostel. Vitali the italian, on the left, takes care of his boots.

Kosta and Vitali the Italian. Born in Italy of Ukrainian parents, Vitali arrived on Maïdan at the end of november, to help protecting the protesters. He's 25 and a paratrooper in Italy.

Morning on Maidan Square.

Every morning, Igor goes in the small catholic tent on Maïdan to pray. He says "first I'm catholic, then I'm Ukrainian."

A religious icon, in the Sotnia's tent.

Igor rests a the hostel before going back for guard duty at the barricade.

Sergueï, from Belarus. He works in maintenance and building in an university in Kiev.

A volunteer reads an article about the clashs on Grushevsky street the previous days.

Vitali sleeps in the tent. He works in construction in Dnipropetrovsk, in the east. Before, he would go back a few days to work, but now he's afraid of being harassed by pro-goverment thugs in the train.

February 19th, the protester hold their ground, facing the police forces who surround Maidan since the previous day.

February 20th : the assault is launched on the police encircling Maïdan.

Igor looks at a hunting rifle, Sasha tries to block the view.

February 20th : the assault is launched on the police encircling Maïdan.

Above Institutska Street, just after the assault, I find Vitali again, who's resting a bit.

Maryna holds an exhausted Igor. They started going out with each other just a couple of weeks before.

Vitali looks beyond the new barricade being rebuilt, on Institutska street. Later, he tells me : "I climbed the stairs with the others, during the assault, I was on adrenaline. It's only after that I realized, the dead, the snipers, the bullets, the wounded...I often think about it."

The 5th Sotnia prepares molotovs coktails just in case.

Igor rests in Maryna's arms, now a volunteer in a nearby medical post.

Saturday february 22nd. As many laws are being voted in the parliament, Vitali hands me a shot of vodka to celebrate. President Yanukovitch has fled the night before and his official destitution is being voted now.

Maidan square is being cleaned, after the deadly assault.

I arrived on Maïdan square at the end of January, just after the violent clashes on Grushevsky Street, a few hundreds meters from the square. A ceasefire had just begun, the tension was decreasing. During the political negotiations, with temperatures reaching -20°C, the protesters were holding their barricades and life was being reorganized.
From my hostel, on the seventh floor of a building overlooking the square, I could hear in the evening the speeches given on the main stage and every hour, the Ukrainian hymn blasting out of the speakers.
That’s where I met those of the 5th Sotnia, a self-defense group of volunteers from all kinds of backgrounds. A generous and just as mysterious donor had paid them nights in the dorms of the hostel. They had been there for about a week.
First I spoke to Maryna, over coffee, then she introduced me to Mykola, an IT teacher, Igor, a young lawyer and assistant to the Sotnik (section chief), Vitali, the funny one, Sasha, from Belarus, who had spent 10 years in prison, and all the others…
Their barricade was a small one, at the corner of the music conservatory, there wasn’t much going on there. In their big shared military tent, they were killing time the best way they could, waiting for an impossible resolution to the crisis. They told me « We’ll stay there until the end, until we win the revolution, we have no other choice. » And they waited in the biting cold.

February – On the 18th, the self defense groups’ march on the parliament turns to bloody clashes with the police. The government forces take back a lot of ground : Grushevsky and Institutska Streets and even a part of Maidan Square. From Paris, I follow the news on the live streams. Is it the end of Maïdan? What’s happening to those of the 5th Sotnia?
I’m on Maidan again the following day. The hostel’s owner has forbidden them to come back, there are security issues. I spend the evening with lights off and many rumors : are there snipers on all the roofs around the square? Impossible to verify.
After another night of waiting for the police to strike, on the morning of the 20th, the protesters charge the government forces.
In the surrounding chaos, while the protesters fall under the sniper bullets, I try to find again those of the 5th Sotnia.

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