When I arrived in Kiev on the 1 February 2014, Independence Square was under siege, surrounded by police loyal to the government. The protestors who occupied Maidan, as the square is know, prepared for battle, stockpiling homemade weapons and mass-producing improvised body armour. The Euromaidan protests began peacefully at the end of 2013, after the President of Ukraine, Victor Yanukovych rejected a far-reaching accord with the European Union in favour of stronger ties with Russia. In response, tens of thousands of dissatisfied citizens poured into central Kiev to demonstrate against this allegiance. As the months passed confrontations between civilians and the police intensified. I set up a make-shift portrait studio, by the barricades on Hrushevskoho street. There I photographed the fighters against a black curtain, a curtain that obscured the highly seductive and visual backdrop, of fire, ice and smoke. Rising tensions culminated in the worst day of violence on the 20th of February, which became known as Bloody Thursday. Snipers loyal to the government started firing on the protestors and civilians on Institutska Street. Many were killed in a very short space of time. The following day President Yanokovych fled Ukraine. In all, three months of protests resulted in over 120 confirmed dead, and many more missing. History unfolded quickly but celebration remained elusive in Maidan. As the days passed in Kiev’s central square, streams of armed fighters were joined by tens of thousands of ordinary people, filling the streets in an act of collective mourning. Many were women, who often carried flowers that they had brought to lay as marks of respect to the dead. They came day after day and covered the square with millions of flowers. Sadness enveloped Maidan. It was quiet and i could hear the birds singing; I hadn’t heard that before. I stopped women as they approached the barricades to lay their tributes, and asked to make their picture. Most women cried when I photographed them. On the first day, my fixer Emine and I cried with almost every woman who visited our studio. It is clear to me that these two sets of images don’t make much sense without the other. They are about men and women and the way we are. Not the way we look, but the way we are. They speak about different gender roles in conflict, not only in Maidan, and not only in Ukraine. Men fight most wars. And women mourn them. If the men show the ideal of the warrior, then the women show the implications of such violence. When I made these pictures, I believed I was documenting the end of violent events in Ukraine, but now I understand that it is a record of the beginning. Today the death toll stands around 3000, while hundreds of thousands have been displaced.