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Russians attack Swedish reporters in Zaporizhzhia oblast with a suicide drone

20.09.2023, 14:26

The filming crew of the Swedish TV4 came under fire from a Russian drone in Zaporizhzhia oblast on September 19, reports the broadcaster.

Reporter Johan Fredriksson and photographer Daniel Zdolsek were out of their car filming when it was hit by a drone. The journalists were unharmed.

However, their local producer Oleksandr Pavlov and two Ukrainian policemen accompanying the TV4 crew received minor injuries.

"This time we were lucky. A Russian strike drone hit the trunk of our car. Fortunately, the car was empty," said Johan Fredriksson.

The TV4 crew was going to film a report about the Ukrainian counteroffensive. The visit to the said area had been pre-planned and organized by the local police.

During the attack, the car they were traveling in and the filming equipment were destroyed.

"We are glad that nobody was injured. We were following the safety procedures prescribed by the editorial team. Both of our envoys have a lot of routine work and experience working in war zones, and this helped them quickly realise what was going on," said TV4 Nyheterna news director Fredrick Malmberg.

As the channel notes, the process of obtaining permission to accompany the patrol police started at the beginning of last week. Before setting off, the TV crew underwent a check that ensured they had the appropriate type of vehicle for the terrain and safety gear such as helmets and bulletproof vests.

The head of the Zaporizhia Oblast Council, Olena Zhuk, expressed concern over the attack on the channel's reporters.

"This is a blatant attack on the press," she told TV4 Nyheterna.

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson considers the incident "absolutely terrible".

"I assume there will be a very thorough investigation into what's behind this. One can not deny that this is also a consequence that Russia wants to see. So that reporters do not dare to go there, so that they cover this war as little as possible," said the prime minister.

The lieutenant colonel of the Swedish Defense Academy, Joakim Paasikivi, noted that this was a deliberate attack on journalists.

A drone pilot observing a target sees what the camera on the drone sees, he said.

“He's deliberately aiming that drone at the target and seeing it all the way through to the hit, and that means the damage is pretty limited, as you can see on the car. Overall, the car's license plate and the inscription PRESS can be clearly seen on the safety vests," he said.

As IMI reported, Dylan Collins, a reporter for the French news agency AFP, was wounded by a drone strike near Bakhmut, Donetsk oblast, on July 24. The journalist was reporting on the work of the Ukrainian military.

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