42 images'Azov' is one of Ukraine's battalions made up of volunteers, regular citizens who chose to stand up for their country and to join the fight against pro-Russia militias in the Donbass. They are known as far-right radicals and are very proud of their patriotism. Now part of the National Guard, commanded by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, its members believe Ukraine to be fully ready to shape its own future. They are known as right-wing radicals and are very proud of their patriotism. Starting in 2015, the group has also been leading a series of two-week retreats for children, where former frontline fighters teach participants to feel confident around weapons and combat scenarios. At the 'Azovets' summer camps, youngsters are lessoned about the realities of war, Ukraine's identity and its struggle for freedom towards geographical, political and psychological independence from Russia and other world powers. Severely disciplined and examined, children train physically and emotionally. They practice shooting positions, survival techniques and martial arts, while being coached in tactical awareness, rifle maintenance, camouflage methodology and first-aid. In addition, they celebrate nationalism and cherish the highest moments of Ukraine's heroes with songs and often-aggressive slogans around the campfire. **Text Available.**
50 imagesThe wounds of war are tormenting eastern Ukraine: thousands of civilians and soldiers continue living in towns and villages along the country’s conflict areas, surviving with an almost total lack of psychological support. The once welcoming landscape is now constellated by damaged, burnt out houses and empty buildings. A number of schools and institutions have managed to remain open, but the sound of machine-guns and explosions are still daily occurrences. Children can't sleep: they have nightmares, they shake, they pee in their pants. Many victims of trauma only run into psychological problems at a later time, reliving events even years after they happened and experiencing them all over again as if it was the first time. Sometimes they are unwillingly led to suicide or to hurt others. Often supported by volunteers and challenged by limited resources and small budgets, social workers tirelessly carry out mental rehabilitation programs. Many Ukrainians have lived through gruesome and dangerous experiences. They are increasingly becoming depressed, angry and overly suspicious about both sides of the conflict, only hoping for it to end soon through political will and diplomacy. With around 10.000 dead since April 2014, and more than one million civilians displaced, sufficient help to cope with the widespread trauma is unavailable. Mental health professionals are also affected by the stigma of the Soviet era, when political dissidents were 'treated' in 'institutions'. As a result, even if people have the opportunity to visit a psychologist, they are often afraid of potentially being labeled 'crazy'. The severe lack of services and opportunities could lead to a social catastrophe. If combined with the deep economic crisis Ukraine is facing, it could be disruptive to the country’s long-term peace efforts and future development.