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In Pictures: Death fans flames of Ukraine war
The killing of Lena Ott last week has enflamed her community, forcing some to think about joining separatist fight.
Last updated: 25 May 2014 09:37
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Starovarvarivka, Ukraine - Grief and incense filled the air. Sobs cut the hot sunshine. A hymn sung by village women scattered throughout the group of friends, family and neighbours of the Ott family seemed to pierce and envelop the gathering - sharply picking out each person and making each disappear back into the whole.

Lena Ott was killed by men wearing unmarked uniforms as she lay on the ground next to her son, after the car they had been travelling in was shot up near the strife-ridden towns of Kramatorsk and Sloviansk in southeast Ukraine.

From the courtyard of her house where the village had gathered, the small home in which she had been born could be seen. Further along, through the thick green grass of the village of Starovarvarivka, across a stream and up a hill through a thicket, the brightly coloured cemetery where her son was buried stood watch next to an empty field.

From that courtyard in mourning, full of people - friends, family and neighbours - Lena’s whole world seemed to be encompassed.

Her killing last week, though only one of many in this dirty, little quasi-war, encompassed more than that. It showed how a group of relatively peaceful farmers, labourers, and shepherds living in a bucolic and forgotten corner of Ukraine could be dragged into the violence.

Whether the strength of their community can withstand the pull of revenge remains far from certain. With the killing of 11 Ukrainian soldiers at a checkpoint this week by separatists, tensions seem to be set to continue growing.


/John Wendle/Al Jazeera

Aleksander Ott, Lena’s husband, stood by as friends from the village of Starovarvarivka dug a grave for his wife. Wavering between silence and bouts of breathless anger, he accused the Ukrainian army of the killing.



/John Wendle/Al Jazeera

Lena and her son Pavel were driving this red Niva on the edge of a field at dusk when it was torn apart by large caliber heavy machineguns mounted on an armoured personnel carrier.



/John Wendle/Al Jazeera

Lena Ott’s body was presided over by a village priest in the small home she shared with Pavel and Aleksander, before being taken up to the cemetery. A small choir of elderly women sang and close family wept.



/John Wendle/Al Jazeera

Dozens of villagers attended the ceremony and accompanied the body through the oldest part of the village of Starovarvarivka, up to the cemetery. The feeling amongst the people was in agreement with Aleksander - that the Ukrainian army was at fault.



/John Wendle/Al Jazeera

As Lena’s body was loaded in an old truck and driven to the cemetery, her niece was overcome by grief and comforted by her husband. The depth of angst was felt by all - with the men expressing anger at the situation reigning in the country at the moment.



/John Wendle/Al Jazeera

Village women walk through the long grass of the Ukrainian countryside up to a cemetery overlooking Starovarvarivka. They blamed Putin and the West for 'grinding' the people between the two sides.



/John Wendle/Al Jazeera

A neighbour who helped dig the grave carries the lid of Lena’s coffin. Working as a forester in the area, he has come face to face with Ukrainian army bases set up in the surrounding countryside.



/John Wendle/Al Jazeera

Some villagers, angered over the killing and the ham-fisted clearance operation carried out by the Ukrainian army, have said they would join the separatists if they had weapons.



/John Wendle/Al Jazeera

The danger is that this killing will inflame latent hatreds and anger - which could eventually translate into violent action if tensions continue. 



/John Wendle/Al Jazeera

The attack by heavily armed separatists on a Ukrainian army checkpoint that left at least 11 soldiers dead on Thursday, will only heighten tensions. 



/John Wendle/Al Jazeera

As violence continues to engulf the countryside around the city of Donetsk, some in the village have said they will stay put, farm their small pieces of land and take care of their families.



/John Wendle/Al Jazeera

In the end, Lena Ott’s killing may do nothing more than break the hearts of her family and the village. If that happens, the Ukrainian army and the separatists will have gotten off lightly - and the strength of this community will be proven.



/John Wendle/Al Jazeera

People are angry and predicting how they will react - by joining the separatists or staying home - is nearly impossible. But the thousands of small choices that people are making now across the countryside will shape how this conflict plays out. 




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images:
/mritems/images/2014/5/23/2014523131935567103_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/5/23/2014523131935879824_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/5/23/2014523131936129529_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/5/23/2014523131936332340_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/5/23/2014523131936879189_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/5/23/2014523131937160959_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/5/23/2014523131937426699_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/5/23/2014523131937723217_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/5/23/2014523131937895963_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/5/23/201452313193867983_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/5/23/2014523131938254144_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/5/23/2014523131938410724_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/5/23/2014523131938629113_8.jpg
captions:

Aleksander Ott, Lena’s husband, stood by as friends from the village of Starovarvarivka dug a grave for his wife. Wavering between silence and bouts of breathless anger, he accused the Ukrainian army of the killing.

;*;

Lena and her son Pavel were driving this red Niva on the edge of a field at dusk when it was torn apart by large caliber heavy machineguns mounted on an armoured personnel carrier.

;*;

Lena Ott’s body was presided over by a village priest in the small home she shared with Pavel and Aleksander, before being taken up to the cemetery. A small choir of elderly women sang and close family wept.

;*;

Dozens of villagers attended the ceremony and accompanied the body through the oldest part of the village of Starovarvarivka, up to the cemetery. The feeling amongst the people was in agreement with Aleksander - that the Ukrainian army was at fault.

;*;

As Lena’s body was loaded in an old truck and driven to the cemetery, her niece was overcome by grief and comforted by her husband. The depth of angst was felt by all - with the men expressing anger at the situation reigning in the country at the moment.

;*;

Village women walk through the long grass of the Ukrainian countryside up to a cemetery overlooking Starovarvarivka. They blamed Putin and the West for (***)grinding(***) the people between the two sides.

;*;

A neighbour who helped dig the grave carries the lid of Lena’s coffin. Working as a forester in the area, he has come face to face with Ukrainian army bases set up in the surrounding countryside.

;*;

Some villagers, angered over the killing and the ham-fisted clearance operation carried out by the Ukrainian army, have said they would join the separatists if they had weapons.

;*;

The danger is that this killing will inflame latent hatreds and anger - which could eventually translate into violent action if tensions continue. 

;*;

The attack by heavily armed separatists on a Ukrainian army checkpoint that left at least 11 soldiers dead on Thursday, will only heighten tensions. 

;*;

As violence continues to engulf the countryside around the city of Donetsk, some in the village have said they will stay put, farm their small pieces of land and take care of their families.

;*;

In the end, Lena Ott’s killing may do nothing more than break the hearts of her family and the village. If that happens, the Ukrainian army and the separatists will have gotten off lightly - and the strength of this community will be proven.

;*;

People are angry and predicting how they will react - by joining the separatists or staying home - is nearly impossible. But the thousands of small choices that people are making now across the countryside will shape how this conflict plays out. 

Daylife ID:
22849c5fda645fe106f03d6a125e377b
Photographer:
;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;
Image Source:
John Wendle/Al Jazeera;*;John Wendle/Al Jazeera;*;John Wendle/Al Jazeera;*;John Wendle/Al Jazeera;*;John Wendle/Al Jazeera;*;John Wendle/Al Jazeera;*;John Wendle/Al Jazeera;*;John Wendle/Al Jazeera;*;John Wendle/Al Jazeera;*;John Wendle/Al Jazeera;*;John Wendle/Al Jazeera;*;John Wendle/Al Jazeera;*;John Wendle/Al Jazeera;*;John Wendle/Al Jazeera
Gallery Source:
Daylife
Daylife Raw Data:
A Killing Ukrainehttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/A_Killing_Ukraineen-ussupport@newscred.comUntitled Site10Fri, 23 May 2014 13:17:41 GMT http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/A_Killing_Ukraine/slideshow/no-caption/656fcac6d6f6f7991b0e62674994bafb

Aleksander Ott stares blankly as neighbors and friends from the village of Starovarvarivka dig a grave for his wife, who was killed the day before in an incident near Kramatorsk, Ukraine.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/A_Killing_Ukraine/slideshow/no-caption/656fcac6d6f6f7991b0e62674994bafbJohn Wendle/Al Jazeera

Aleksander Ott stares blankly as neighbors and friends from the village of Starovarvarivka dig a grave for his wife, who was killed the day before in an incident near Kramatorsk, Ukraine.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/A_Killing_Ukraine/slideshow/no-caption/42b0e6501dda0f329f9ebc3838fa3161

The red Niva that Lena Ott and her son Pavel were driving home after visiting Lena's sister. The car was torn by heavy caliber machine gun rounds and pistol fire.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/A_Killing_Ukraine/slideshow/no-caption/42b0e6501dda0f329f9ebc3838fa3161John Wendle/Al Jazeera

The red Niva that Lena Ott and her son Pavel were driving home after visiting Lena's sister. The car was torn by heavy caliber machine gun rounds and pistol fire.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/A_Killing_Ukraine/slideshow/no-caption/ce2011efe948ad10d4140362c1174f57

Aleksander Ott (3rd from right) looks at his wife, as his sister in law, Nadia (4th from right), looks on. Lena Ott had been visiting Nadia before being killed.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/A_Killing_Ukraine/slideshow/no-caption/ce2011efe948ad10d4140362c1174f57John Wendle/Al Jazeera

Aleksander Ott (3rd from right) looks at his wife, as his sister in law, Nadia (4th from right), looks on. Lena Ott had been visiting Nadia before being killed.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/A_Killing_Ukraine/slideshow/no-caption/3024f111b8d3b394c01ea01c7f67a56f

Neighbors and friends from the village of Starovarvarivka gather at the funeral for Lena Ott.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/A_Killing_Ukraine/slideshow/no-caption/3024f111b8d3b394c01ea01c7f67a56fJohn Wendle/Al Jazeera

Neighbors and friends from the village of Starovarvarivka gather at the funeral for Lena Ott.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/A_Killing_Ukraine/slideshow/no-caption/a56375ccb5ff6e193eca81e37f87135e

Neighbors and friends from the village of Starovarvarivka gather at the funeral for Lena Ott.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/A_Killing_Ukraine/slideshow/no-caption/a56375ccb5ff6e193eca81e37f87135eJohn Wendle/Al Jazeera

Neighbors and friends from the village of Starovarvarivka gather at the funeral for Lena Ott.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/A_Killing_Ukraine/slideshow/no-caption/a916e5144f134ee65de0aa5c9fc121bc

Neighbors and friends from the village of Starovarvarivka gather at the funeral for Lena Ott. Lena's niece cries in the arms of her husband.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/A_Killing_Ukraine/slideshow/no-caption/a916e5144f134ee65de0aa5c9fc121bcJohn Wendle/Al Jazeera

Neighbors and friends from the village of Starovarvarivka gather at the funeral for Lena Ott. Lena's niece cries in the arms of her husband.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/A_Killing_Ukraine/slideshow/no-caption/a6f94e9ceabc34329afeb452fc3f2ae0

Neighbors and friends from the village of Starovarvarivka gather at the funeral for Lena Ott. Women from the village walk to the small cemetery on a hilltop overlooking the village.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/A_Killing_Ukraine/slideshow/no-caption/a6f94e9ceabc34329afeb452fc3f2ae0John Wendle/Al Jazeera

Neighbors and friends from the village of Starovarvarivka gather at the funeral for Lena Ott. Women from the village walk to the small cemetery on a hilltop overlooking the village.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/A_Killing_Ukraine/slideshow/no-caption/60fe8ea89e856eae432d69efc141c6f1

Neighbors and friends from the village of Starovarvarivka gather at the funeral for Lena Ott. A villager carries the lid of the coffin.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/A_Killing_Ukraine/slideshow/no-caption/60fe8ea89e856eae432d69efc141c6f1John Wendle/Al Jazeera

Neighbors and friends from the village of Starovarvarivka gather at the funeral for Lena Ott. A villager carries the lid of the coffin.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/A_Killing_Ukraine/slideshow/no-caption/6547ccd461f279edd756720dd57e20d6

Neighbors and friends from the village of Starovarvarivka gather at the funeral for Lena Ott.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/A_Killing_Ukraine/slideshow/no-caption/6547ccd461f279edd756720dd57e20d6John Wendle/Al Jazeera

Neighbors and friends from the village of Starovarvarivka gather at the funeral for Lena Ott.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/A_Killing_Ukraine/slideshow/no-caption/d4d5361e0290e49809d84ae0a9fcfb0a

Neighbors and friends from the village of Starovarvarivka gather at the funeral for Lena Ott.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/A_Killing_Ukraine/slideshow/no-caption/d4d5361e0290e49809d84ae0a9fcfb0aJohn Wendle/Al Jazeera

Neighbors and friends from the village of Starovarvarivka gather at the funeral for Lena Ott.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/A_Killing_Ukraine/slideshow/no-caption/471be0ac7be4b352dc1bf350bbc6282e

Neighbors and friends from the village of Starovarvarivka gather at the funeral for Lena Ott.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/A_Killing_Ukraine/slideshow/no-caption/471be0ac7be4b352dc1bf350bbc6282eJohn Wendle/Al Jazeera

Neighbors and friends from the village of Starovarvarivka gather at the funeral for Lena Ott.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/A_Killing_Ukraine/slideshow/no-caption/cf06f8dc94863e2f8f2b762f4b1ac97a

A villager stares blankly after filling the dirt back into Lena Ott's grave.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/A_Killing_Ukraine/slideshow/no-caption/cf06f8dc94863e2f8f2b762f4b1ac97aJohn Wendle/Al Jazeera

A villager stares blankly after filling the dirt back into Lena Ott's grave.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/A_Killing_Ukraine/slideshow/no-caption/c87bf6790c27d88feaec4c71d4f37e72

Men set wreathes at the grave of Lena Ott, ned to the grave of her son, who died two years before.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/A_Killing_Ukraine/slideshow/no-caption/c87bf6790c27d88feaec4c71d4f37e72John Wendle/Al Jazeera

Men set wreathes at the grave of Lena Ott, ned to the grave of her son, who died two years before.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/A_Killing_Ukraine/slideshow/no-caption/2f45b9ac8013895e0e3bee3cd0b815f5

Friends and neighbors head back to their homes after filling in Lena Ott's grave.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/A_Killing_Ukraine/slideshow/no-caption/2f45b9ac8013895e0e3bee3cd0b815f5John Wendle/Al Jazeera

Friends and neighbors head back to their homes after filling in Lena Ott's grave.



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