Shell-Shocked: Ukraine’s Trauma
It's been two years since pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine broke away from the rest of the country, triggering a war that has killed more than 9,000 people, displaced a million civilians, and left entire towns and villages in ruins.
Ukraine's government was wholly unprepared for the conflict, and its armed forces had been hollowed out by years of mismanagement even before the fighting began. As a result, Kiev has relied on tens of thousands of inexperienced volunteers to fight the brutal civil war. The country's healthcare system had little experience dealing with the range of physical and psychological injuries sustained by soldiers and civilians. Once demobilized, soldiers are eligible for a number of benefits, but only if they can obtain their official veteran status. With the process slow and bureaucratic, many have been left struggling to deal with the traumatic aftermath of the conflict.
With no clear end in sight to the fighting, VICE News traveled to the country to investigate the war's impact on soldiers and civilians, and to see how volunteer groups are stepping up to help.
Note: VICE News wanted to also see how the trauma of the war was being handled by the separatist authorities of the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics, but we were denied access.