Proof of War

Anonymous Telegram channel video archive

In the first hours of the war, videos and photos by ordinary citizens flooded the channels of the instant messaging service Telegram—the medium of choice for immediate coverage of the war, and the one that reaches those in Russia and its occupied territories. The anonymous channel Proof of War aggregated clips from across Ukraine. They show not only the widespread damage and loss of life incurred by the attack but also the resounding defeat of Russian forces as they moved deeper into the country. In addition, one can see the bravery of ordinary people coming out to the streets daily to protest the presence of the occupiers. In late April, the flood of images dried up, partially because it became illegal to film and publish videos of attacks as they are taking place, as these could be used to direct Russian fire. The last images on the anonymous channel show the evacuation of civilians from Mariupol—a city that has been almost completely destroyed. Proof of War stopped publishing on 10 May 2022. Its archive presents an image of the war as seen on Telegram, updated several times a minute over the course of its first two months.