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

24.06.2023, 09:00
Photo: Stas Kozlyuk, Stas Yurchenko, edit by IMI
Photo: Stas Kozlyuk, Stas Yurchenko, edit by IMI

In the year and four months since the start of the full-scale invasion, Russia has committed 519 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 sixteenth month of the war, IMI recorded five freedom of speech violations committed by Russia. Namely, these include kidnapping and attacks on journalists, as well as cyber attacks on Ukrainian media websites.

In the sixteenth month of the war, four media workers were killed in action:

  • Yevheniy Osievsky – soldier, journalist, columnist for "Kunsht" and "Commons", killed in a battle near Bakhmut on May 22, 2023.
  • Victor Petrov – Lviv-based journalist, activist and soldier, killed in action in the east of Ukraine on May 29. Victor Petrov was the first editor at "Sikhiv Media" and had headed the publication from 2016 to 2019..
  • Roman Chornomaz – a Ukrainian activist, journalist, photoreporter, long-time member of the "Nasha Vira" editorial team, Freedom Legion soldier, killed in a battle in the Bakhmut area on June 13, 2023.
  • Ivan Shulha – sound director and soldier, killed in action on June 16, 2023. He was a live broadcast sound director at "Priamyi" TV.

In total, as of June 24, 63 media workers were killed in Ukraine, 10 of whom died while reporting.

In temporarily occupied Melitopol (Zaporizhzhia oblast), local journalist Iryna Levchenko and her husband Oleksandr have been kidnapped. The occupiers detained the couple on the street, first keeping them together and then separating them. Iryna and her husband have been retired for several years.

In Kherson, foreign and Ukrainian journalists covering the evacuation of locals who were affected by the flood, which was triggered by the Kakhovskaya HPP explosion, came under Russian fire. As freelance reporter Stas Kozlyuk told IMI, there were many journalists in the spot that came under fire. Among them were Stas Yurchenko, Lyubomyra Remazhevska, Yevheniy Savilov, Inna Varenytsia, the "Deutsche Welle" and "Suspilne" crews.

In addition, a team of four media workers came under Russian fire in the recently liberated village of Blahodatne (Donetsk oblast). As Olha Kosova, Olha Kosova, a freelancer who works with Spanish media, told IMI, the occupiers opened fire with the "Grad" MLRS when they noticed people moving. There were no casualties.

"Vechirny Kyiv" was targeted by a Russian cyberattack. The hackers posted several copies of a news item by the hacker group Sontsepyok. They were posting the same news item every minute, which featured an image of Zelensky a clown costume and went approximately as follows: "Attention, Zelensky! We, the hacker group Sontsepyok, have hacked all the state websites, discovered all the information and corruption."

The Russians continue to create fake Ukrainian media websites. This time, another clone of the RBC-Ukraine website appeared in the web. The Russian propagandists used this website to post a misleading article titled "Zaluzhny spells everything out." In the article, which is purportedly written by the news feed editor, Dmytro Braslavskyi, they cite a similarly fake Facebook post by the UAF Commander-in-Chief, Valery Zaluzhny. With this report, the Russians are trying to promote the belief that "it's all over," the counteroffensive has failed, Zelensky has betrayed everyone, there will be no more weapons, and other such false and pessimistic narratives.

Learn more here.

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