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Galway photographer dives deep into Ukrainian conflict to capture history as it happens

Galway photographer Clodagh Kilcoyne was sent on assignment for three weeks to the Romanian border to capture fleeing refugees when Russia first invaded Ukraine.

The experience left her wanting to delve deeper – so she asked her bosses at the international news agency Reuters to be sent into the heart of the action.

It was a far cry from the assignments she had up to then as a news and sports photojournalist.

She underwent five days ‘hostile environment training’ where she learned how to run with a heavy flak jacket, how to react when there’s incoming fire, how to be self-sufficient when there’s no access to fresh food and water, how to work a generator.

Clodagh spent two stints in Ukraine, the first for a month and the second for five weeks.

“It’s dramatic. I don’t feel traumatised, it’s very, very shocking. It’s very hostile, it’s very active, it’s kinetic…it was the most dangerous place in the world,” she explains.

“I didn’t see anyone receiving direct impact but you do see dead bodies, they’ve died before you’ve got there.

“It certainly has had an impact…but I’m okay. I’ve access to all the relevant help.”

Her image of a distraught Ukrainian refugee on a bus in Siret has won top news picture in the recently announced Press Photographers Association of Ireland (PPAI) Awards.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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