As millions fled the conflict in Ukraine, the reportage illustrator felt compelled to travel there. He explains why he wants to depict the human cost of war
Two weeks into the Russian invasion, as millions of Ukrainians fled their homes and headed west, artist George Butler began his own journey in the opposite direction. Travelling light, his dip pens, watercolours, Indian ink and drawing board stashed in his customary shoulder bag, he took a flight from London to the city of Iasi in Romania, then jumped on a bus to Chișinău, the Moldovan capital. Another long and very crowded bus journey took him to Odesa in southern Ukraine, where he stayed for a few days before continuing on an overnight train to Kyiv, at the heart of the conflict.
‘This scene was outside a Kyiv supermarket a few hours before the 36-hour curfew earlier this month. It’s a long queue because everybody was trying to get in as much food as possible before the lockdown. It’s a very typical scene at the moment. You also see long queues at cashpoints that limit people to 200 Ukrainian hryvnia [about £5].’