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"Shoved around and explicitly threatened:" Pryamy correspondent on working at the Lavra on March 29

03.04.2023, 17:01

The Pryamy filming crew faced obstruction, with its members being showed around and threatened, while working at the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra on March 29 by people who called themselves the UOC MP parishioners. The channel's correspondent Andriy Solomka informed IMI about this.

According to him, he and the cameraman arrived to the Lavra in the morning: by that time, the UOC MP mass was already underway, with several hundred believers assembled.

"As soon as we entered the Lavra premises, we immediately went live from there. And it was at that moment that the UOC MP supporters noticed us. In a matter of minutes, a large crowd gathered around us, we tried to talk to the believers live, but a constructive dialogue was impossible," said Andriy Solomka.

According to him, what happened next can be described in a few phrases: "distortion of information, provocations, manipulation, and outright aggression."

The correspondent is sure that the people who surrounded the filming crew wanted to trigger emotion in him and his colleagues, so that the conversation would shift from religion to any other topic.

"At first, the aggression was only verbal, but later some believers started acting more radically, shoving us around and continuing to explicitly threaten us. Just as someone pushed me two or three times while I was recording a comment by one of their priests, I remarked: 'You shouldn't do that,'" the correspondent said.

Andriy Solomka added that there was only one such incident. He pointed out that during there were no law enforcers at the Lavra during the jostling – all of them were standing at the entrances.

"It would be good if at least the dialogue police were inside. However, as I already said, the jostling turned out to be minor, the operator and I did not receive any injuries, the equipment is also intact," Solomka added.

After the incident, the journalist said, the TV channel has filed statements to the police and provided them with all the relevant material that confirms obstruction of journalistic work: both videos by the "Pryamy" and videos by their colleagues from other media outlets.

As the IMI reported, on March 30, Metropolitan of the UOC MP Pavlo Lebid tried to knock the microphone out of the hand of "Espreso" correspondent Valeria Pashko while speaking to journalists at the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra.

Also, a UOC MP priest shoved Suspilne correspondent Daria Nematian Zolbin as she tried to ask Metropolitan Pavlo a question, and broke the camera mount of cameraman Viktor Mozgovy.

A person in a cassock damaged the phone charger cable of "Telegraf" photoreporter Yan Dobronosov in the jostling at the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, involving UOC MP Metropolitan Pavlo Lebid.

On the same day, March 30, 2023, Kyiv police opened a criminal case for obstructing journalistic work on the territory of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra.

Ukrainian media organizations called on law enforcement bodies to objectively and impartially investigate the bullying of journalists that occurred near the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra on March 30 and bring the perpetrators to justice.

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