WARNING: PHOTO BELOW IS GRAPHIC We've seen plenty of powerful photos emerge from the violence in Ukraine over the last three months. But few have documented the violence's aftermath with such raw emotion as this one.
The image, taken by photographer Vlad Sodel after clashes on Feb. 18 in central Kiev, captures the exact moment two blood-stained protesters look into the eyes of a riot policeman. The protesters, identified by Sodel as a father and his son, wear a pained expression of defiant disbelief. They appear bewildered and broken, yet somehow undeterred.
The older of the two is believed to be Mykola Kuznetsov, a PhD-holding computer scientist at Ukraine's V.M. Glushkov Institute of Cybernetics.
Kuznetsov did not immediately reply to a request for comment from The Huffington Post, leaving the exact circumstances of the photo open to speculation. It isn't clear how the two were injured, or what roles, if any, they've played the protests.
A (graphic) video from the scene, however, shows the duo approaching a medical station. In the video, translated from Ukranian by The Huffington Post, an unnamed cameraman tells the two, "You should go to the hospital." The father then indicates their injuries are not serious. He later asks, "Where can I wash my face? Simply wash my face."
The picture, which The Daily Dot labeled "the most powerful protest photo of the year," has gone viral and unleashed a wave of responses across social media.
"I can't stop returning to this image from #Kiev. ... What words were exchanged?" Vaughn Wallace, deputy photo editor for Al Jazeera America, pondered on Twitter.
The photo has also been shared more than 3,500 times on Sodel's Facebook page.