War in Ukraine – List of journalists who are victims gets longer by the day
Since the start of the Russian offensive in Ukraine, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has documented attacks directly targeting journalists wearing a “Press” armband, and has seen more and more of them killed or injured in the course of their work. RSF offers support to journalists in the field and calls on the Russian and Ukrainian authorities to guarantee their safety, in accordance with international conventions.
As part of its monitoring of the press freedom situation in Ukraine, RSF has been keeping an up-to-date record of attacks on journalists and media outlets since the invasion by the Russian army. This interactive map, which is regularly updated, provides a record of press freedom violations that have taken place in Ukraine.
- Thursday 26 January. The crew of the Czech TV channel ČT24 found itself under the fire of Russian armed forces near Bakhmut, in Donbass. The journalist Andreas Papadopulos says that he and his crew were targeted in spite of the visible “PRESS” marking when they filmed the cemetery of civilians. “A drone overflew us and five minutes after that, the Russians started firing at us from the other side of the hill. Two shells landed at 20 meters from us”, tweeted the journalist. This attack took place today at noon. The journalist as well as his cameraman Jan Bradáč and their fixer Anastasia Zhuk are not injured.
- Monday 2 January. Björn Stritzel, a German reporter for the daily Bild, was slightly injured in the face by glass fragments from a powerful explosion near his hotel in Druzhkivka, near Kramatorsk (in the Donetsk region). A crew with the French TV programme Quotidien staying in the same hotel – consisting of Paul Gasnier, Héloïse Grégoire and Théo Palfray – filmed the moment of the impact. None of them was injured.
- Saturday 31 December. Wataru Sehita, a Japanese journalist working for the daily Asahi Shimbun, was injured in the right ankle by debris while near his hotel in Kyiv when it was targeted by a Russian missile attack. His colleague Norito Kunisue, who was in his room at the time, sustained no injury.
- Monday, 19 December. Two Italian reporters, Claudio Locatelli and Niccolò Celesti, accompanied by their interpreter, were targeted by a Russian strike in the Kherson region. The car they were travelling in was clearly marked "PRESS". Niccolò Celesti claims that the attack was 99% intentional. Claudio Locatelli suffered minor injuries to his ear.
- Monday, 19 September. Our sources in Kakhovka, a city in the Kherson region that is occupied by the Russian army, said they have no news of Zhanna Kyselova, a journalist who edits the local newspaper Kakhovska Zorya. According to the city council, Kyselova was kidnapped from her home by Russian soldiers along with one of her neighbours. The fate of the two women is unknown.
Wednesday, 7 September. Mattia Sorbi, an Italian freelance war reporter working for the Italian broadcaster RAI, confirmed to RSF that he is alive but injured. Sorbi went missing on 31 August after setting off for Oleksandrivka, a village in an area of fighting near the southern city of Kherson. According to our sources in Ukraine and Italy and to a Russian defence ministry statement, Sorbi is hospitalised in an occupied region. According to initial reports, his car drove over a mine that exploded, killing his driver.
Friday, 2 September. A Ukrainian TV crew wearing “Press” bulletproof vests were targeted by a drone armed with an explosive while filming in Senkivka, a village near the Russian border in the northern Chernihiv region. ICTV reporter Olha Chytailo and cameraman Maksymilian Ilchenko noticed the drone while interviewing residents near their car. When they made a second stop, the drone returned and dropped its explosive charge on their car. The blast damaged the car but did not injure the two journalists, their driver or the soldier who was accompanying them.
Wednesday 8 June. The Kharkiv radio and TV tower was again the target of Russian artillery attacks during the night. The shelling started a fire that damaged the tower’s installations and interrupted TV broadcasting until the next morning.
Friday 3 June. Reuters photographer Aleksander Ermochenko and cameraman Pavel Klimov sustained minor injuries when their car was hit, overturned and caught fire during an artillery attack near Sievierodonetsk but their driver was killed instantly.
Monday 30 May. Frédéric Leclerc-Imhoff, a French journalist working for BFM TV, was killed in Lysychansk by shrapnel from a shell that hit him in the neck while he was in a bus that was about to evacuate civilians in a humanitarian operation in the Luhansk region. Fellow journalist Maxime Brandstaetter and fixer Oksana Leuta, who were with him, were hospitalised with minor injuries.
Saturday 28 May. Two freelancers from Hong Kong, Alex Chan Tsz Yuk, a photojournalist who works for SOPA Images, Japan Asahi Broadcasting Group Holdings Corporation and Japan 8 Bit News, and Kure Kaoru, a video reporter working for NHK Japan, and their Ukrainian fixer, Mykola Pastukh, came under Russian artillery fire near the bridge between Lysychansk and Sievierodonetsk. The first shell exploded a few metres from Pastukh, who was hit in the right shoulder by shrapnel. They rolled into a roadside ditch for shelter and, a few second later, more shells exploded, causing Chan to suffer partial loss of hearing in his left ear. Pastukh, whose arm was partially paralysed, was taken to hospital for an operation to his shoulder.
Wednesday 18 May. Three journalists with the Ukrainian television channel ICTV, Tetiana Nakonechna, Yevhen Turta and Oleh Tsymbalyuk, came under a Russian missile and artillery attack this morning while reporting in Kostiantynivka, in the Donetsk region. The city was hit by at least seven missiles and one of them landed a few dozen metres from the journalists, but none of them was injured.
Thursday 12 May. A crew with the Ukrainian TV channel 1+1, consisting of Oleksandr Zagorodni, Ivan Golovach and Vitali Ovsyannikov, came under a Russian cluster bomb attack while filming a report in Maryinka, in the Donetsk region.
Wednesday 11 May. Two reporters for the Estonian TV channel ERR, Anton Aleksejev and Kristjan Svirgsden, two reporters for the Estonian newspaper Postimees, Jaanus Piirsalu and Dmitri Kotju, a reporter for the German newspaper Die Welt, Alfred Hackensberger, and his cameraman Ricardo Garcia Vilanova came under fire on the outskirts of Siversk, a town in the Donetsk region. Cluster munition fragments flew past their car as they lay on the ground for 15 minutes before managing to leave the area.
Thursday 5 May. A Hromadske TV crew consisting of reporter Anastasia Stanko, cameraman Kolyan Pastiko and a driver came under Russian artillery fire while covering the evacuation of civilians from Lyman (in the Donetsk region) to the city of Dnipro. Three shells landed 200 metres away from the TV crew and the Lyman residents.
Thursday 28 April. Anastasia Volkova, a reporter for the Ukrainian public television channel Dom TV, came under Russian artillery fire in Rubizhne (in the Luhansk region) while wearing a bulletproof vest and helmet with “Press” stickers. Five minute after she and her crew arrived to film the evacuation of civilians, shells started landing in the exact place where she had just been standing.
Tuesday 26 April. The vehicle in which Fran Sevilla, a reporter for Spanish public broadcaster Radio Nacional de España (RNE), a Brazilian reporter for the daily Gazeta do Povo and the TV channel JP News Luis Kawaguti and their driver Konstantin Kouzhelnyi were travelling was badly damaged by Russian artillery fire near the last Ukrainian defence position outside the city of Zaporizhzhia, on the road to Mariupol. The artillery fire resumed as Sevilla filmed the damage to their car, which was clearly marked with the word “Press.”
- Monday 25 April. Ales Barazenka and Dzyanis Dudzinski, two reporters for Belsat, a Belarusian exile TV channel based in Poland, came under fire in Bezruki, a village near Kharkiv, while doing a report on an ambulance brigade.
- Wednesday 20 April. A rocket fired by Russian troops during the night hit the headquarters of the local branch of the public broadcaster Suspilne in Mykolaiv, damaging the building’s windows and doors.
- Monday, 4 April. One of a CNN crew’s vehicles was damaged and another was destroyed by Russian artillery fire in Oleksandrivka, just to the south of the southern city of Mykolaiv, as photojournalist John Torigoe filmed correspondent Ben Wedeman and producer Kareem Khadder and translator Valeriia Dubrovska.
- Sunday 3 April. Oleksandr Gunko, the editor of the Nova Kakhovka City and Dilovi Novyny news sites and a columnist for Hazeta Po-Ukrainski and Kraina, was abducted by Russian soldiers after a search of his home, according to a colleague, Maksim Birovash. Nova Kakhovka City’s staff had previously received an email suggesting that they should collaborate and cover events “correctly.” He was released on April 6, after three days in the Kherson detention center.
- Wednesday 30 March. Mantas Kvedaravicius, a Lithuanian documentary film maker, is shot twice after being abducted by Russian soldiers three days earlier in Mariupol, to which he had gone to film the besieged city.
- Monday, 28 March. A journalist reported that a colleague of hers, Dmitro Khiliuk, has been missing since 4 March. A correspondent for the Ukrainian press agency UNIAN, Khiliuk is believed to be detained by Russian troops in Dymer, an occupied village in the Kyiv region, along with around 100 other civilians. Residents who have been released think that, because he is a journalist, the Russians may suspect him of having been in contact with the Ukrainian security forces.
- Saturday, 26 March. Irina Dubchenko, a Zaporizhzhya-based journalist who works for the UNIAN news agency, the Depo.ua and Reporter news websites and the Subota-plus weekly paper, is arrested by Russian troops in the village of Rozivka (Zaporizhzhya region) and taken to Donetsk, in the Donbass region. She is reportedly accused of supporting and hiding Ukrainian soldiers. Her relatives announced her release on 11 April.
- Saturday 26 March. Cameraman Oles Navrotskyi sustained a serious shrapnel injury to the leg when he came under Russian artillery fire while filming in a combat zone in the Kyiv region, according to 24 Kanal, the privately-owned Ukrainian TV channel he works for.
- Friday 25 March. Andriy Tsaplienko, a well-known Ukrainian war reporter working for the privately-owned TV channel 1+1, was slightly injured by shrapnel when he and his crew were filming the evacuation of civilians from Chernihiv via a humanitarian corridor. They came under fire from Russian troops, as did journalists working for the Turkish channel TRT World.
- Thursday 24 March. A missile was fired at a TV tower in Izium, a city near Kharkiv, according to Maksim Strelnik, the head of the city council’s youth and sports department.
- Wednesday 23 March. Oksana Baulina, a Russian journalist working for the Russian online investigative media The Insider, was killed by a Kamikaze drone (combat drone containing an explosive) in Kyiv, according to her colleagues. She was reporting on the damage caused by a previous attack on a shopping centre in the Podil district. Two people with her were injured.
- Wednesday 23 March. During a raid on journalist Svitlana Zalizetska’s home in the southeastern city of Melitopol, two Russian soldiers and a civilian took her 75-year-old father hostage and are now holding him in an unknown location. As a condition for his release, they say that his daughter – the editor of the main city newspaper, Golovna Gazeta Melitopola, and the RIA-Melitopol news website – must come to them. She fears the city’s occupiers will demand her collaboration or the shutdown of her news site. He was released on 25 March after Zalizetska announced that she had transferred control of RIA-Melitopol to third parties “in territory controlled by Ukraine” who, in her opinion,” provide objective information.”
- Tuesday 22 March. The home of Vitaly Golod, the editor of Nashe Misto-Tokmak, a regional newspaper based in Zaporizhzhya, was searched in his absence by Russian intelligence agents, who seized documents and a computer he uses for his work.
- Friday 18 March. The staff of the independent media outlet Hromadske announced there had been no sign of life from journalist Victoria Roshchyna since 12 March and that witnesses saw her for the last time in the southeastern city of Berdiansk. They suspect that the Russian army kidnapped her. On March 22, she was released.
- Wednesday 16 March. A Russian missile struck the TV tower in the city of Vinnytsia, according to the Rada, the Ukrainian parliament. TV and radio broadcasting in and around the city was temporarily suspended.
- Monday 14 March. A crew from the US TV channel Fox News was targeted by artillery fire in Horenka, near the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. French-Irish cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski and Ukrainian producer Olexandra Kuvshynova were killed in the attack. Shrapnel caused British journalist Benjamin Hall serious leg injuries.
- Monday 14 March. A missile was fired at a TV and radio tower in the village of Vynarivka, in the Kyiv region, according to the head of the regional military administration, Oleksiy Kuleba.
- Monday 14 March. An airstrike damaged the TV tower in the Rivne region, according to the head of the regional military administration, Vitaliy Koval.
- Sunday 13 March. Photojournalist Maks Levin, who worked forReuters, the Associated Press, the BBC and the Ukrainian independent media outlet Hromadske, disappeared in Vyshhorod, near Kyiv. His friend Markiyan Lyseiko, who sounded the alarm, received the last message from Levin at 11:23 a.m. from the combat zone where he was reporting. His body was found in Huta-Mezhyhir'ska, a village on the outskirts of the city, after the Russian forces had withdrawn. He was wearing a “Press” vest when shot twice.
- Sunday 13 March. US documentary filmmaker Brent Renaud was fatally shot in the back of the neck while driving his car in the town of Irpin, northwest of Kyiv. Juan Arredondo, the US-Colombian journalist who was with him, was injured and hospitalised.
- Saturday 12 March. Oleg Baturin, a journalist working for Novy Denin Kakhovka (in the Kherson region), disappeared in the afternoon. Russian soldiers were seen near the meeting place to which he was reportedly heading, according to local sources. Units of the Russian armed forces were stationed in the nearby town of Nova Kakhovka. On March 20, he was released.
- Friday 11 March. Marian Kushnir, a reporter for Radio Svoboda(the Russian-language service of the Prague-based US broadcaster Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty), was injured in a rocket attack in Baryshivka, near Kyiv. He was treated for a concussion.
- Wednesday 9 March. The Bilopillya TV tower, northwest of Sumy, was the target of a Russian airstrike.
- Tuesday 8 March. Russian soldiers stormed the TV tower in the city Berdiansk, which houses several local media, including the radio station Novosti Berdiansk, the newspaper Berdianskiye Vedomostiand the TV channel Youg TV. The soldiers held around 50 journalists hostage for more than five hours and subjected them to physical violence for refusing to broadcast Kremlin propaganda, a witness told RSF.
- Tuesday 8 March. Viktoria Roshchina, a Ukrainian journalist reporting for the independent TV channel Hromadske, was shot atwhen her car crossed a column of Russian tanks in the Zaporizhzhia region. She and her driver had to abandon the vehicle and seek refuge in nearby fields. Soldiers broke into the car and confiscated her equipment.
- Sunday 6 March. Swiss photographer Guillaume Briquet narrowly escaped death when he came under fire after passing a checkpoint on a road between Kropyvnytskyi and Mykolaiv, in the south of the country. After he had been wounded in the face and arm by glass splinters from his windshield, presumed members of a Russian special commando harassed him and robbed of 3,000 euros and film equipment.
- Sunday 6 March. A second strike hit the Kharkiv TV tower.
- Saturday 5 March. A crew working for the London-based pan-Arab TV channel Al-Araby TV – reporter Adnan Can and cameraman Habip Demirci – came under Russian fire in Irpin, a suburb of Kyiv. Shots were aimed at their car even though they had attached a white flag and “Press” signs to it. They found refuge with local residents but were unable to leave for the next four days because of the fighting that was taking place.
- Saturday 5 March. The fixer of a team of foreign journalists disappeared on a road near Kyiv, in an area controlled by Russian forces. He had to abandon the car rented by the journalists because it was targeted with automatic weapon fire although a “press” sign was displayed. RSF learned that he was being held by Russian soldiers. On March 13, he was released.
- Friday 4 March. Shots were fired at a car marked “Press” and “TV” being used by two journalists working for Czech TV channel CNN Prima News – Czech reporter Darja Stomatová and Dutch cameraman Jan Schürger – in Yakovlivka, a village near the eastern city of Kharkiv.
- Thursday 3 March. Vojtech Bohac and Majda Slamova, two Czech journalists reporting for Voxpot, were sharing a car with two Ukrainian journalists with Central TV when they came under fire from Russian soldiers using AK-47 assault rifles in Makariv, on the outskirts of Kyiv. None of them was injured.
- Wednesday 2 March. Three TV towers – in Kharkiv, Korosten and Lysychansk – were hit by Russian airstrikes.
- Tuesday 1 March. Evgeny Sakun, a cameraman for the local Kyiv Live TV channel, was killed when Russian missiles hit the Kyiv TV tower.
- Monday 28 February. A crew with the UK’s Sky News TV channel – consisting of four Brits and a Ukrainian journalist – were heading toward Bucha when shots were fired at them. Reporter Stuart Ramsay sustained a gunshot injury to the lower back while cameraman Richie Mockler’s body armour stopped two rounds.
- Saturday 26 February. Stefan Weichert and Emil Filtenborg Mikkelsen, two Danish reporters for the Danish newspaper Ekstra-Bladet, were badly injured by shots fired by an unidentified gunman in the northeastern town of Okhtyrka. They were treated in a nearby hospital until evacuated and hospitalised in Denmark a few days later.
Ukraine is ranked 97th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2021 World Press Freedom Index, while Russia is ranked 150th.