Saturday, July 04, 2015


Top Shots

Some of the most compelling photographs from RFE/RL's broadcast region and beyond. For more photo galleries, see our "Picture This" archive by clicking on the banner above.

Waiting For The Next Clash In Donbas

Six kilometers from the separatist-controlled city of Horlivka, Ukrainian forces of the 17th Army Battalion are holding their positions in the small town of Dzerzhynsk. The soldiers say that machine guns and mortar strikes can be heard almost every night, and that separatist fighters have approached within a few hundred meters of their camp. Their time is spent waiting for their next orders, or the next outbreak of violence. (Photos by James Sprankle)

Man Drowns As Floods Swamp Russia's Olympic City Of Sochi

A man drowned on June 25 when severe flooding hit the Russian resort of Sochi, destroying homes and cutting off transport links. Authorities declared a state of emergency in the Black Sea city, which hosted the 2014 Winter Olympics, deploying rescue workers from other cities to help cope with the disaster, authorities said. The body of the drowning victim, who was in his forties, was found in Adler, on the outskirts of Sochi. A torrential downpour dumped the equivalent of two months of rain in just 14 hours on the city of 400,000. Around 400 homes were destroyed in the part of the city closest to the Black Sea. "The Kherota river overflowed its banks, the train station was flooded and train services had to be suspended," Sochi's mayor, Anatoly Pakhomov, said. Around 2,000 people were stranded at the airport, which was under 1 meter of water, the mayor added. Several of the venues for the Olympics were flooded, as was the Formula One circuit to host the Russian Grand Prix that was inaugurated in October last year.

Fluffy, Kozak, Yaga, And Gosha -- The Soldiers Of Ukraine's 23rd Battalion

The soldiers of the 23rd Motorized Infantry Battalion are serving in the Starobeshevskiy region of Donetsk. Their military unit was formed in April 2014 as the first defense unit of the Zaporizhzhya region. In May 2014, the battalion was redeployed to the Donetsk region, where its men served at checkpoints around Mariupol. (RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service)

Photos Of The Week #26

Some of the most compelling photographs from RFE/RL's broadcast region and beyond. For more photo galleries, see our "Picture This" archive.

Hundreds Die In Pakistan Heat Wave

A four-day heat wave has killed more than 780 people in Karachi as the government declared a holiday in the southern Pakistani city to encourage people to stay home. The heat wave has coincided with severe electricity cuts and the holy month of Ramadan, when most Muslims do not eat or drink during daylight hours. Many of the deaths, among the elderly and poor have been caused by dehydration. Charities have been working to bridge the gaps in an overburdened and poorly funded public health system in the city of 20 million people, home to Pakistan's main stock market, central bank, and biggest port. Government health officials did not return calls seeking comment. Many of Karachi's wealthy have generators to run air conditioners to beat the heat, which reached 44 degrees Celsius over the weekend. Public services in Pakistan, a nuclear-armed nation of 190 million people, are starved of resources because of endemic tax evasion.

Armenian Police Disperse Crowd Protesting Rise In Power Prices

Armenian police used force and water cannons to clear a demonstration in central Yerevan after an overnight standoff with activists protesting against rising electricity prices. In the early hours June 23, special police forces moved to disperse a crowd of hundreds of protesters who spent more than nine hours seated in the street not far from the presidential compound.

Photos Of The Week #25

Some of the most compelling photographs from RFE/RL's broadcast region and beyond. For more photo galleries, see our "Picture This" archive.

Drinking After Curfew In Donetsk

Russian-backed separatists imposed a curfew in Donetsk in May 2014, shortly after seizing control of the city, ordering bars to close at 10 p.m. But the Gungubazz bar, famed for its Bohemian spirit, recently celebrated its 14th anniversary with an all-night party. (RFE/RL Current Time photographer Petr Shelomovskiy. (www.currenttime.tv))

On Foot Or Bike, Migrants Transit Macedonia On Way To EU

Every week, thousands of migrants cross through Macedonia with the hope of eventually reaching the border of the European Union. They come from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Yemen, and West African countries, among others, often entering Macedonia from Greece. The government in Skopje has forbidden illegal migrants from using public transportation, and private drivers fear being charged with human trafficking, so most people in transit are forced to go by foot or bicycle. The trip is long and exhausting, but activists or local residents sometimes come forward to offer assistance. (Photos by RFE/RL's Balkan Service)

Tbilisi Takes Stock Of Damage After Massive Floods

Search and rescue operations were continuing in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, on June 15, a day after deadly floods swept through the city. At least 13 people have been confirmed dead and 10 others remain missing. The Tbilisi zoo was inundated by floodwater, killing some animals and allowing others to escape and roam the streets.

Tbilisi Flash Flood Kills At Least 13, Devastates City's Zoo

Georgian authorities say heavy rainfall and flash floods overnight left at least 13 people dead and some 24 others missing in the capital, Tbilisi. Heavy rains started late evening on June 13, turning the Vere River flowing through Tbilisi into a torrent that swept away dozens of building and cars, and damaged power lines. The city's zoo was also flooded, allowing tigers, lions, wolves, and other animals to escape. Three zoo workers were killed in the flooding. Some of the animals have been captured, but it remained unclear how many are on the loose. Authorities asked the city residents to stay indoors while the animals are rounded up. President Giorgi Margvelashvili offered his condolences to the families of the flood victims and promised that the process of rebuilding would quickly begin. Vice mayor of Tbilisi Irakly Lekvinadze said a preliminary estimate put damages at $18 million.

Photos Of The Week #24

Some of the most compelling photographs from RFE/RL's broadcast region and beyond. For more photo galleries, see our "Picture This" archive.

Smoldering On -- Key Ukrainian Coke Plant Defies Shelling

The small town of Avdiivka lies on the front line between Ukrainian troops and Russian-backed separatist forces. It has come under fire from both sides. Many houses have been destroyed, and power is intermittent. But the Avdiivka coke plant has kept going. The only major source of jobs and wages to local people, it is also one of the largest tax payers in Ukraine. By RFE/RL Current Time photographer Petr Shelomovskiy. (www.currenttime.tv)

Baku's Fancy Facelift

Photographer Giuseppe Cacace visited the Azerbaijani capital to record some of the developments that are changing the face of that city, which is experiencing an often controversial construction boom fueled by an oil-rich economy.

Firefighters Battle Blaze At Fuel Depot Near Kyiv

Ukrainian emergency services said more than 300 firefighters were mobilized to battle a fire at a fuel depot outside Kyiv that triggered a powerful explosion.

Underground Life In A Donetsk Bomb Shelter

In the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, a stronghold of Russia-backed separatists, at least 1,000 people are living in basements and other makeshift bomb shelters, according to humanitarian aid workers. RFE/RL Current Time photographer Petr Shelomovskiy visited one shelter in Donetsk's Petrovskiy district that houses 40 people, including 19 children, in a cramped subterranean space. (www.currenttime.tv)

Photos Of The Week #23

Some of the most compelling photographs from RFE/RL's broadcast region and beyond. For more photo galleries, see our "Picture This" archive.

Soviet Sevastopol In 2015

Since being annexed by Russia, Crimea has been described as a "Soviet reservation." Flags, banners, signs and architecture all recall Soviet times. Shortages of certain goods and isolation from the outside world reinforce the atmosphere of the communist era.

Photos Of The Week #22

Some of the most compelling photographs from RFE/RL's broadcast region and beyond. For more photo galleries, see our "Picture This" archive.

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