DETROIT (WXYZ) — Steve Andre is back home in Michigan after spending several weeks in Ukraine.
Andre, a Detroit freelance photographer, told WXYZ he’s happy to be home and safe but also feels guilty for leaving.
"I got out. I’m basically here in this place," Andre said, as thousands of people in Ukraine are still trying to leave a war zone. "Women and children basically outside, freezing, for hours and hours on end."
That is one of his last memories of Ukraine as he headed toward Poland's border.
"Every night, there would be air raid sirens, there would be explosions you could hear in the background," he recalled.
For over five years, he's been using his camera to capture different wars. “I’ve been going to the Ukrainian front lines in the East in the Donbas region since 2017," Andre said.
The Detroit native said this time around, things were different. “It’s a different area, you don’t expect to see it in a capital with a population of three million people," he explained
He was able to snap several shots while also trying to make it out. One photo he shared is of the Ukranian TV tower in Kyiv.
“They knocked out the broadcast ability," he said.
According to reports, Russian troops fired a missile at the TV tower that left several people dead and injured.
“Waking up this morning, it just seemed like a bad dream, but it's not," Andre said. "It's reality for millions and millions of people."
According to the United Nations, two million people left Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion.
Andre shared photos of crowded stations and people waiting on trains to take them to the border.
When he arrived at the border, he spent several hours in an empty warehouse that had been turned into a shelter filled with families sleeping on cots.
“That's where they had all the refugees going to, to be able to rest, warm up, and eat hot food," he said.
As the world watches the war from a screen, Andre said we shouldn't forget the people who sometimes can’t be seen in Ukraine, such as the volunteers in the country and at the borders, helping civilians.
"They are just normal people just stepping up. It’s incredible," Andre said.
He plans to go back to Ukraine in the coming weeks. Andre is working on collecting medical supplies to take back with him.