By Marko Djurica
He stood beside a jeep, wearing the Russian army’s tight, black boots and trousers, that most of the insurgents wear, and a green military jumper. A small compass and large hunting knife in a sheath hung on his belt, an AK47 was slung over his shoulder. He looked straight at me through a balaclava. As I approached, he seemed to get bigger and bigger.
I was in Ukraine again, where the West and Russia have taken opposing sides in a separatist war with the pro-Russians in the East.
I had heard a few weeks before that the pro-Russian Vostok battalion had an American siding with the insurgents. Our team had repeatedly tried to get permission to do a story about him but we hadn’t had any success. However, during an assignment in Donetsk, I finally met the right people to allow me access on the condition that I would only take still pictures and not film him.
“I’m Marko,” I told him. “I’ve come to make a photo story about you, if you agree. What’s your name?”
“Of course!” he said. “They told me you’d be coming. My name is Hunter; I can’t tell you any more than that.”
I was chatting to Hunter when an insurgent commander told us it was time to go.
“Where to?’ I asked.
“To the frontline, of course.”