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Russian propagandists must be tried as war criminals – IMI expert

30.09.2022, 16:31
Photo: Center for Countering Disinformation
Photo: Center for Countering Disinformation

In the seven months of the full-scale war, Russia committed 454 crimes against journalists and the media in Ukraine. As of September 24, Russian troops have killed a total of 38 journalists in Ukraine. Of them, eight were killed in the course of their work (three Ukrainians and five foreign citizens). 30 died as combatants or were killed by Russian shelling, not while performing journalistic work. 14 journalists, Ukrainian as well as foreign, have been injured.

IMI expert Kateryna Diachuk stated this at the annual OSCE Human Dimension Conference on human rights, which is taking place in Warsaw.

According to her, IMI has recorded cases of abduction, firing at journalists and TV towers, threats, cybercrimes, disabling Ukrainian broadcasting and distributing Russian propaganda in the occupied territories, journalists going missing.

"IMI has also recorded numerous cases of threats sent to journalists and media offices via Russian email service mail.ruThey were threatened with torture, interrogations, imprisonment for their work. “European Pravda,” “Glavkom,” “Apostroph,” “Krym.Realii,” as well as several Volyn and Zaporizhzhia media outlets have received such emails. Russian troops have shelled 13 TV towers across Ukraine: in Melitopol, Kyiv, Vynarivka, Kharkiv, Izyum, Rivne, Vinnytsia, Korosten, Lysychansk, Bilopillya, which led to broadcasting being partly off in the regions," IMI expert stressed.

She noted that last time the Russian army was targeting a TV tower in Zaporizhzhia on September 22. The attempt to strike the TV tower was part of the special information operation aimed at disabling the Ukrainian broadcasters’ signal in Zaporizhzhia while the sham referendums were being held. Since the start of the full-scale Russian invasion, at least 215 TV and radio broadcasters, online and printed media (national, regional, and local) have stopped their activities in full or in part due to the hostilities and occupation. These are mainly regional media from Zaporizhzhia, Kherson, Khmelnytsky, Kharkiv, Kyiv, Donetsk, Mykolaiv, Sumy, Luhansk, and Chernihiv oblasts.

"In addition to these war crimes committed by Russian troops, I also want to mention the Kremlin propagandists who call for the murder of Ukrainians, justify the Russian army’s war crimes, misinform the Russian population and the global community. They must be tried as war criminals after the fall of Putin’s regime. We call on the world’s journalistic organizations and national media associations to stand united and demand just punishment for everyone whose efforts enable the Kremlin’s propaganda machine to run at full capacity, leading to hundreds of innocent victims and destruction every day," Kateryna Diachuk summarized.

As IMI reported, after the beginning of the full-scale invasion on February 24, harsh hate speech in Russian propaganda media has given way to direct calls for the genocide of Ukrainians.

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