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Ukraine develops self version of Google Street View to depict the scope of the war

Anyone may now explore Ukraine‘s war-torn streets virtually and contrast them with images taken prior to Russia’s incursion.

On the anniversary of the conflict, the Undeniable Street View was introduced in an effort to show the extent of the devastation.

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Six Ukrainian cities, including Kyiv, Irpin, Kharkiv, Izyum, Chernihiv, and Sumy, are available for viewers to explore on foot.

The footage has been shot on the ground by Ukrainian photographers, including Mykola Omelchenko whose War Up Close project played an important role.

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War Up Close shows the extent of the continued destruction through 360 degree images, virtual tours and global exhibits.

Mykola became the first Ukrainian certified Google photographer in 2016.

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He said: ‘When the war started, the pictures that we started to see of the war in the news and on Telegram channels were depressive and scary.

‘But then Russia started to say that (Ukrainians) were bombing their own cities, which is a complete lie.

undeniable street view
Photographers wanted to capture the reality of the destruction (Picture: PA)
undeniable street view
People can compare before and after photos (Picture: PA)

‘And to fight that propaganda, we decided to fight behind the cameras.’

He said Irpin and Borodyanka are ‘probably the most destroyed’ he filmed.

‘I know those villages – I have travelled through them a lot for business and pleasure – and to see the destruction was terrible. I was devastated,’ he said.

‘I thought after filming in the Kyiv region I was ready for many things, but when I went to Kharkiv – there’s a region called Saltivka, which is on the east border – it was even more terrible because there was nothing else left but schools and apartments.

‘The team are so focused on showing proof of damage caused in their country, they are willing to risk their lives to do so.

‘This is our own equipment, our own cards, our own lives.

undeniable street view
The photographers risk their lives capturing the photos (Picture: PA)
Cities people can look at include Kyiv, Irpin, Kharkiv, Izyum, Chernihiv and Sumy (Picture: PA)

‘No-one’s going to pay us back if a missile hits the car, destroys the drone or 360 cameras.

‘We were flying drones in one area to see what the damage was and a little girl – around five years old – came to us and said, “Are you going to bomb us today?”

‘(Another time), a person came out of their completely destroyed house and he asked what we were doing and when he found this information out, he brought us plums.

‘Stories like that put scars on my heart.’

The war has had a huge impact on his feelings of safety and security in other places.

‘Every time I hear a noise, I still duck,’ he said.

‘I still look around to see what it is because my mind is still in Ukraine and understands that there’s a war and a missile can go off anywhere.’

He has plans to film in other cities when they are safer and filming permission is granted.

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