Makarii Dudchenko is a professional athlete – a two-time champion of Ukraine – and, because of the war, a refugee.

In this episode of Portraits from the war in Ukraine, Makarii shares his experience of fleeing Ukraine and finding ways to continue building his life temporarily in Tours, France.

“Our coaches warned us about a coming war. We were optimistic about this and didn’t believe it. But when this day came, everything went upside down.”

Just 18-years-old, Makarii details the huge disruption of his life and goals because of the war, and his hopes for the future as he learns French and continues to compete in rowing.

Watch the portrait above, and explore the full series of portraits here.