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514 crimes against media and journalists in Ukraine committed by Russia in the year and three months of the big war

24.05.2023, 10:00
Cover by IMI
Cover by IMI

In the year and three months since the start of the full-scale invasion, Russia has committed 514 crimes against journalists and media in Ukraine.

This evidenced by the Russian War Crimes Monitoring carried out by the Institute of Mass Information.

During the fifteenth month of the war, IMI recorded five freedom of speech violations committed by Russia. Namely, these include murder and wounding of journalists, cyber attacks, and broadcasting Russian propaganda.

In the fifteenth month of the war, seven media workers were killed on the frontline. Two of them died while reporting, and five were defending Ukraine against the Russian occupiers:

  • Bohdan Bitik – Ukrainian producer for the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, killed by a Russian attack in Kherson on April 26, 2023.
  • Arman Soldin – video reporter for the French news agency AFP, killed by a rocket strike in Ukraine's east on May 9, 2023.
  • Dmytro Siryk – Suspilne Donbas host, soldier; killed on April 20 in Donetsk oblast. On the channel, he hosted "Rewind", an original program about music news and hits.
  • Oleksandr Bondarenko – soldier, journalist, and communications officer, killed in action on April 27.
  • Volodymyr Mukan – soldier who worked as a journalist and editor at "Gazeta Po-Ukrainsky", the magazine "Kraina", and before the full-scale war. Killed in Bakhmut on April 29, 2023 while carrying out a combat mission.
  • Denys Kryvy – nature photographer, soldier, killed near Bakhmut while trying to rescue his wounded comrades.
  • Ivan Kuzminsky – soldier, director at the television channel for children "Malyatko TV", killed in a battle with Russian invaders near Dibrova, Luhansk oblast, on May 17.

As of May 24, a total of 59 media workers died in Ukraine, with 10 of those dying while reporting.

Corrado Zunino, a correspondent for the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, was wounded in a Russian attack. At the time of the attack, he was with the fixer Bohdan Bitik, who was killed. Law enforcers have started a pre-trial investigation into the wounding of Corrado Zunino, a reporter with the Italian newspaper La Repubblica. A case for violation of the laws and customs of war (Part 2 of Article 438 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine) has been opened.

The website of Channel 24 sustained a Russian hacker attack on May 11, according to the editors. The Russians began rapidly posting fake news reports that contained threats and insults against the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky and mailing out similar "push messages" to the readers. The attack took place the day before the release of a large-scale investigation about a high-ranking officer of the Russian GRU. The channel managed to thwart the attack and promptly identified the vulnerabilities which had enabled the attack.

Furthermore, in Kharkiv oblast, the Russian occupiers attempted to broadcast fakes on the radio called "Slobozhanske FM" (90.2 FM). The Kharkiv Regional Military Administration press office noted that this was not the first time that the enemy attempted to pose as Ukrainian radio and misinform the population of Kharkiv oblast.

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