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Ukrainian wine photographer Arsen Fedosenko dies in war

Tributes have been paid to talented photographer Arsen Fedosenko, a passionate advocate of Ukraine’s vineyards and winemaking tradition, who has died while working in the military in the country's fight against Russia's invasion.

Wine producers and military colleagues paid tribute to Captain Arsen Fedosenko, who was working as a photographer for the Ukrainian armed forces’ strategic communications department.

He was wounded in the Kharkiv region in June, and died in hospital one day later, said Wines of Ukraine, which represents several producers in the country.

A funeral service was held in Kyiv on 13 June, as reported by Canada’s CBC News, with a selection of his photos also on display.

Fedosenko joined the Ukrainian army as a correspondent in March 2022, shortly after Russia’s full-scale invasion began on 24 February, and used his photography skills to document life on the frontline. 

However, he had been a photographer for more than two decades. He became closely connected to Ukraine’s wine sector, earning plaudits for his work charting the country’s winemakers and vineyards.

‘I want the world to fall in love with Ukrainian wine through art photography,’ said Fedosenko in his nominee profile on the Wine Travel Awards website.  

Wines of Ukraine, which is headed by Svitlana Tsybak of Beykush Winery, described Fedosenko as a talented photographer, designer and artist, as well as a passionate wine enthusiast and aspiring winemaker. 

‘He took hundreds of wonderful photos of the vineyards, wineries and winemakers, and was planning to publish a photo book about Ukrainian craft winemaking,’ the group said. 

‘Arsen visited over 30 wineries located throughout Ukraine and laid his own vineyard in 2019. His works were exhibited in Ukraine and abroad.

‘He also created labels and logos for several wineries, [and] hosted wine tastings and wine lectures, promoting Ukrainian wines. His creative impact in the development of Ukrainian winemaking can’t be overestimated.’

Fedosenko had a wife and two sons, the group said. ‘The Wines of Ukraine team, along with Arsen‘s family, friends and colleagues and all Ukrainian winemakers, will keep his memory alive.’

Fedosenko was the 82nd media worker killed since Russia’s full-scale invasion back in 2022, said the Institute of Mass Information (IMI), a Ukrainian non-governmental organisation. Ten of those people died ‘while performing editorial assignments’, it said.

IMI cited a Telegram post by the Ukrainian armed forces’ strategic communications department that paid tribute to Fedosenko’s character and dedication.

Military casualty figures for Ukraine and Russia are difficult to confirm. In February 2024, Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky said 31,000 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed since Russia’s full-scale invasion.

A May 2024 report from the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine said there had been 32,989 civilian casualties since 24 February 2022, including 11,126 people killed and 21,863 people injured.

Arsen Fedosenko’s photography appears in Decanter’s recent sponsored guide to the wines of Ukraine, created in partnership with Beykush WineryBig WinesSHABO and Vinos de La Luz.

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