War in Ukraine: six months on, millions are forced to change jobs

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Six months since Russia’s assault on Ukraine began, residents are still adjusting to their new reality – one that is under constant threat. Some have had to settle into completely new careers. 

Before Russia invaded his country, 34-year-old Denys Zhupnyk was a radio and TV host working for Ukraine’s most popular stations. 

But, like many others, he had to dramatically change how he makes ends meet as war ravages the nation’s economy.

Entire industries have been upended as countless people, especially men, are forced to fight.

“The car that used to drive me to work is now my workplace,” Zhupnyk said.

“I was forced to do this because I have no permanent salary and our savings are quickly running out.

“I have two kids, a wife, a dog. They all want to eat and do normal things.”

For professional dancer and choreographer, Oleksiy Busko, the war has forced him to swap stages for building sites.

“Now I have nothing to do in my sphere, it has completely stopped, so I was forced to work as a builder,” he told AFP.

“At the moment this is the only thing that saves me materialistically.”

Like Zhupnyk, Busko does not have military training, so he is not first in line to be sent to the frontline.

For other Ukrainians, it is not the first time that war has made them change their lives completely.

Cameraman Nikita Priymenko fled his Donetsk home in 2014 when war erupted with Moscow-backed separatists, and settled in Kyiv.

But with the Kremlin’s full-scale invasion, the 33-year-old’s life has changed dramatically again. He has switched life on film sets for working as a mechanic in a motorcycle garage.

“I am working here because I have nothing to live off,” he told AFP. 

“But at least it’s some kind of money.”