Photo credit: Olha Zaporozhska
During an anti-terrorist exercises in Kamyanka of Dnipropetrovsk region, the organizers had to evacuate the journalists because of the danger due to tear gas. The correspondent for ICTV Christina Wengelauskayte told it IMI representative in Dnipropetrovsk region.
According to the journalist, they had no safeguarding equipment, and the journalists started suffocating from tear gas. The training was jointly organized by the police, the State Emergency Service and the defense officials.
As Christina Vengelyauskayte said, before the exercise they were offered the bullet-proof vests, but all refused, saying they would be on the balcony. However, she said, they were not even proposed gas masks, respirators and headphones.
“At the second site of the exercise, we were offered to go upstairs to the balcony, and it was there that I learned that tear gas would be spread. Everything happened from below, nothing came to us, but then we heard a clap and suddenly, everyone started to cough. We all started to get at least our one’s own handkerchiefs to cover nose and mouth. We were not provided any instruction before. Then the tyres started burning. No one was telling us anything as it was happenning, although they saw all of us having tears and coughing, and when we could not see anything, then they told they would evacuate us.
Someone got hysterical, someone panicked”, Chrystyna Wengelauskayte told.
The correspondent of the “Pryamyy” Tetyana Zaparya also noted that the organizers did not speak about the agenda before the exercise, notwithstanding the fact the journalists asked to explain what will happen during the exercise.
“Before starting the exercise, we asked to be told about the procedure. No one told us that there would be tear gas, grenades, that the glass would break, that we would be placed in a room with no exit. A thunder flash exploded just behind me. We are used to go to Avdiivka, a hundred meters to the frontline, but I know where I am going and what I am wearing there. And here I stand in a dress and moccasins. They would at least say us to bring the respirators with us, at least some primitive safeguard equipment. Now I am deaf in my left ear, I will wait until the evening, if it does not pass, then I will go to the doctor, ” she said.
Instead, the head of the State criminal enforcement service of the Southeastern interregional directorate of the Ministry of Justice, Yuri Kunetsov, noted that he had warned journalists that the exercise would be imitating the reality.
“I told all the journalists, please be careful, because all the events that will take place will be as much as possible close to the reality. Of course, pyrotechnics were used there, of course, tear gas as well, Molotov cocktails and so on. Unfortunately, the journalists who were present there were not ready for this, because they did not expect to see it in their real life. Of course, we apologize to all the media outlets whose journalists have been affected there, but we do not know in which direction the wind will blow and where the gas will go. We did not offer any safeguard equipement to anyone, but everyone was warned that exercises would be as much as possible close to combat activity ,” he said.