The Exodus From Ukraine

Published today in The New Republic, photographs by Ron Haviv illustrate the toll in lives and possessions of a desperate flight from war, with words from Peter Maass.

Photo by Ron Haviv / VII. Scenes from the road leading to the broken bridge that allowed people to escape from the Irpin, suburb of Kyiv to safety, March 7, 2022. Footsteps and tracks made by wheelchairs and strollers lead up to the makeshift crossing to semi safety. People left their cars and extra belongings as they crossed the bridge by foot to be sent to Kyiv and beyond, often to begin their lives as displaced or a refugee.

Look at these photos of frozen sand that preserved the footprints of those who escaped. It is like Pompeii without ash—traces of a civilization in flight. You see, amid these embalmed steps, the tracks of what seems like bicycle tires but then you notice they are in parallel pairs, a few feet apart. You look at another picture and you realize what has made these tracks: baby strollers that have been abandoned. Did parents break into a run, grabbing their infants from their strollers, after a bomb fell nearby, too close? Was the path ahead impassable on wheels, so infants had to be carried?