British photographer injured on Ukraine frontline backs appeal for family of woman killed helping him

A British photographer seriously injured by a shell whilst reporting in Ukraine has backed a fundraising appeal for a woman killed and a fixer who was injured in the same incident.

Christopher Nunn was reporting from the frontline city of Avdiivka on the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine when he was injured on 2 February.

He was with fixer Vladimir Subotovsky (known as Vova) staying at the home of woman called Elena.

She was killed after stray shell went into the wall of the apartment and Nunn suffered facial injuries which nearly destroyed the sight in one eye.

Donations are sought to pay Elena’s funeral costs and help her nine-year-old son and to help Subovsky with his medical expenses (he suffered concussion).

The Justgiving appeal, set up by Donald Weber, states: “We need to remember the dedication, skill and commitment of those who risk their lives to help journalists get their story, nameless drivers and interpreters: fixers.

“Our responsibility is to take care of those that take care of us.

“Vova, while not critically wounded, received a concussion. He needs medicines for which he borrowed on credit, and needs more tests. Beyond medical needs, are expenses incurred doing his job. Gas, travel, lost wages and other compounded expenses add up.

“Any amount helps. In Ukraine, a little can be a lot. What Vova is best at, is understanding the responsibility we have beyond our own stories, and towards our subjects who, without them, we would have no story.”

Nunn, 34,  has spoken about the incident and revealed how he has had reconstructive surgery to save the sight in his damaged eye.

Speaking alongside the doctors who saved his sight he said: “Doctors told me what had happened with my eye and I understood from what they said that time was very important so I decided to be treated in Ukraine.”

He said he is aiming to get back to work on the frontline after he has fully recovered. He has so far had two operations, with a third scheduled for later this week.

The photographer, who has worked for leading publications such as The New Yorker, the Financial Times, Le Monde and the Telegraph, wrote on social media: “Firstly thank you everyone for the overwhelming support, I’m very touched.

“Thank you to those who helped set up Just Giving pages for Vova, Elena’s family and myself. It has helped a lot during this difficult time.

“You know what happened by now. I was in an apartment in Avdiivka, eastern Ukraine, with my good friend Vladimir Subotovsky and a friend-of-a-friend Elena who we had been spending time with during the day and with whom we were staying with in Avdiivka.

“The apartment got shelled. Elena died. I took some injuries. Doctors managed to save my left eye which was severely damaged by fragments including a larger piece of PVC from the blown out window that flew into my eye and damaged everything it touched.

“The operation to remove these pieces and rebuild my eye was successful and healing is going well. At present the only thing I can see with my left eye is light and shapes which is normal for this stage in recovery.

“My right is absolutely fine. My facial wounds, caused mainly by chunks of glass and plastic are healing well. I had a few other cuts on my chest and arm and a minor head wound at the back but this is all fine. Vova received minor injuries but had concussion and has been traumatised by the event, which as you can imagine was absolutely horrible.

“I’ve been in hospital in Dnipro for eight or nine days now. We are both recovering well, and my aim is to make sure that myself, Vova and Elena’s family get through this ok with all necessary support. Everyone is working together, and everything is going well, but the healing process will take some time.”

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