Eyes on the Insurgents: Portraits of Russia’s Stealth Invasion of Ukraine

April 24, 2014 | Eugene Reznik

Earlier this week the Ukrainian government released photographic evidence linking the organized, suspiciously well-armed “pro-Russian” _________ leading insurgencies in the country’s eastern industrial cities to Russian military forces and “sabotage-reconnaissance” groups. The photos have been heavily scrutinized, and not for nothing — one of the misattributed images appears to be lifted right off of Maxim Dondyuk‘s Instagram feed.

Meanwhile, photojournalist Scott Olson, a staffer for Getty Images News, has been filing photos from around Yanukovich’s home town of Donetsk for the past week and made a number of isolated, candid portraits capturing the piercing eyes of these masked ‘unnamables.’

The ones I’ve chosen to share here [thanks, Getty] are striking because they seem to say so much while revealing and identifying so little. Which, of course, might not always be the case with the rapid development of facial recognition technology and biometric surveillance. Maybe then Putin too with admit casually, offhand, as he did with his stealth invasion of Crimea, ‘Who else could it have been?’

ANIMAL previously featured the work of AFP Photojournalist Dimitar Dilkoff from Lugansk and Slavyansk, Ukraine.

(Lead Image: Scott Olson/Getty Images; Caption: Pro-Russian activists stand guard inside the Donetsk city government building on April 18, 2014 in Donetsk, Ukraine. Nearby, activists have also taken over the Donetsk Regional Administration building. Activist leader, Denis Pushilin, who is co-head of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic, said today that they will not surrender until there is a change of leadership in Ukraine. Several bands of separatists, similar to those in Donetsk, have been occupying government buildings in other eastern Ukraine cities in recent weeks.)