2023 in photos: Living with war in Ukraine

(Reuters) - As the war in Ukraine passed its first anniversary and approaches its second, Ukrainians have had to learn to live amid a constant drumbeat of death and destruction.

Reuters photographers were on the ground in the country throughout 2023 to show the world how Ukrainians experience the war.

For one Donetsk resident, the war is literally outside his window. While he sleeps, the sun rises on a devastated urban scene.

In the capital Kyiv, it is physically more distant but still ever present. Two men visit the Wall of Remembrance, where rows of photos give a human face to the rising death toll.

On a dismal January day in Bakhmut - soon to be the focus of months of brutal combat - three children laugh as they try out a skateboard on the roadside. A few weeks later in the same city, Olha says goodbye to her 6-year-old granddaughter, Arina, who must be evacuated as Russian troops close in.

The following month, Valentyna and Liudmyla weep at the coffin of their son and brother Volodymyr, a serviceman killed in the fighting for Bakhmut.

The war began when Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022 in what it called a "special military operation." The biggest conflict in Europe since World War Two grinds on with no clear end in sight.

A counteroffensive by Ukrainian forces to take back territory in the east seized by Moscow has largely stalled.

Many of the eastern cities have been almost entirely depopulated, with the few residents left clinging on to their old lives in basements and ramshackle shelters with little in the way of modern conveniences.

But, even there, life goes on. In the village of Posad-Pokrovske in the Kherson region, a site of intense fighting in 2022 where almost every building was destroyed, residents have been preparing to rebuild the school, according to the U.N.

In a Reuters photograph from January 2023, 77-year-old Posad-Pokrovske resident Volodymyr shares a small toast of horilka, a local spirit, with his brother over a meager meal in a cellar.

Volodymyr's wife, Tetiana, enters the last room of their house that still has a roof, and lights a candle.

(Photography by Reuters photographers; Writing by Rosalba O'Brien; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)