Joanna Kakissis Joanna Kakissis is an international correspondent based in Kyiv, Ukraine.
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Joanna Kakissis

Jodi Hilton
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Jodi Hilton

Joanna Kakissis

Ukraine Correspondent

Joanna Kakissis is an international correspondent based in Kyiv, Ukraine, where she leads NPR's bureau and coverage of a conflict that has upended millions of lives, affected global energy and food supplies and pitted NATO against Russia.

Kakissis began reporting in Ukraine shortly before Russia invaded in February. She covered the exodus of refugees to Poland and has returned to Ukraine several times to chronicle the war. She has focused on the human costs, profiling the displaced, the families of prisoners of war and a ninety-year-old "mermaid" who swims in a mine-filled sea. Kakissis highlighted the tragedy for both sides with a story about the body of a Russian soldier abandoned in a hamlet he helped destroy, and she shed light on the potential for nuclear disaster with a report on the shelling of Nikopol by Russians occupying a nearby power plant.

Kakissis began reporting regularly for NPR from her base in Athens, Greece, in 2011. Her work has largely focused on the forces straining European unity — migration, nationalism and the rise of illiberalism in Hungary. She led coverage of the eurozone debt crisis and the mass migration of Syrian refugees to Europe. She's reported extensively in central and eastern Europe and has also filled in at NPR bureaus in Berlin, Istanbul, Jerusalem, London and Paris. She's a contributor to This American Life and has written for The New York Times, TIME, The New Yorker online and The Financial Times Magazine, among others. In 2021, she taught a journalism seminar as a visiting professor at Princeton University.

Kakissis was born in Greece, grew up in North and South Dakota and spent her early years in journalism at The News & Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Story Archive

Russian cruise missiles have smashed Ukraine's power grid and water system

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Ukrainians face winter in Kyiv without electricity, heat and water

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Ukrainian State Emergency Service firefighters work to extinguish a fire at the scene of a Russian shelling in the town of Vyshgorod outside the capital Kyiv, Ukraine on Wednesday. Authorities reported power outages in multiple cities of Ukraine, including parts of Kyiv, and in neighboring Moldova after renewed strikes Wednesday struck Ukrainian infrastructure facilities. Efrem Lukatsky/AP hide caption

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Efrem Lukatsky/AP

Georgians alarmed at the arrival of tens of thousands of Russian exiles

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Aid to Ukraine is vital this winter as Russia keeps up its attack on infrastructure

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A Ukrainian serviceman checks the trenches dug by Russian soldiers in a retaken area in the Kherson region, Ukraine, on Oct. 12, 2022. Leo Correa/AP hide caption

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Leo Correa/AP

Italy is all set to have its first far-right government since World War II

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Italy will soon be led by the most far-right government it's had since Mussolini

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Italy braces for far-right victory in elections

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The building housing Mykolaiv's regional government, bombed early in the war, lies in ruins on Aug. 11. Governor Vitaliy Kim says he knew he was the target "because it was my window." Thirty-seven of his colleagues died in the bombing. Joanna Kakissis/NPR hide caption

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Joanna Kakissis/NPR

Ukraine hunts for pro-Moscow collaborators suspected of helping Russia strike targets

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Ukraine's southern coast is enduring non-stop Russian bombardment

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This Ukrainian grandmother is rebelling against the wartime beach ban

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Olha Kerod, the wife of a Ukrainian soldier who was captured by Russian forces in Mariupol, poses in front of the Church of Sts. Olha and Elizabeth, where she often prays, in Lviv, Ukraine, on July 18. "I pray for all the soldiers, not just Stas," her husband, she says. "I will keep praying until they all come home." Laurel Chor for NPR hide caption

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After a deadly jail blast, Ukrainians want answers about war prisoners held by Russia

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