Updated Oct 19, 2022, 6:39pm EDT

Life during the Russian offensive, illustrated by art and AI

Tanya is a Russian-born, New York-based video journalist and documentary filmmaker at Semafor. You can subscribe to Semafor’s YouTube channel here.

This video is based on a verified, first-hand account of life under Russian attack, which has been transformed into illustrations of those words created by an artist and an AI tool.


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The News

When Russian tanks rolled through the Kyiv suburbs in the first days of the Ukraine invasion, Sergei Sotnychenko couldn’t leave home. A resident of Irpin, a quaint small town on the doorstep of the Ukrainian capital, Sotnychenko was forced to shelter in place with his elderly mother as bombs began falling on his neighbors’ homes. For the entire month of March, the battle of Irpin raged on as the Russian army sought to capture Kyiv.

The story was reported with a local journalist who requested anonymity due to the sensitive nature of his work. Semafor independently corroborated Sotnychenko’s account.

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Witness is a new series of first-hand stories from around the world. We take corroborated eyewitness accounts of events and work with an artist to illustrate and animate the words using artificial intelligence tools.

Do you have a first-hand account of news that could be told this way? Do you know of someone who has one - from Iran, or Myanmar, or anywhere else it may be hard to capture video? 

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