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Two years since the start of the invasion: Russia commits 567 crimes against journalists and the media in Ukraine

24.02.2024, 09:00

In the two years since the start of the full-scale invasion Russia committed 567 crimes against journalists and the media in Ukraine.

This is evidenced by the monitoring of Russia’s crimes against journalists and the media maintained by the Institute of Mass Information.

Russia’s main crimes in Ukraine in the war’s second year:

  • murder and abduction of journalists;
  • firing at and injuring journalists;
  • damaging media offices by shelling;
  • cyber crimes;
  • disabling Ukrainian broadcasting and attempting to stream Russian propaganda instead;
  • blocking online access and mobile connection in Ukraine’s occupied territories.

Moreover, Ukrainian media outlets continued to close down due to the financial crisis caused by Russia’s full-scale aggression.

In the two years of the war Russia killed a total of 70 media workers in Ukraine. 10 of them died while reporting, 47 were killed as combatants, 13 died by Russian shelling or torture.

In the 10 years since the start of the Russo–Ukrainian war (2014–2024), a total of 77 Ukrainian and foreign media workers died; 13 of them were killed while reporting.

“Crimes against journalists and the eradication of independent journalism in Ukraine’s occupied territories have been a part of Russia’s war on Ukraine since 2014; following the full-scale invasion in 2022, it has been happening in the territories controlled by Ukraine, as well. Murder, abduction, death threats, arresting mass media representatives – here is but a short list of the crimes against the media committed by the occupiers,” says Kateryna Diachuk, the head of the IMI’s freedom of speech monitoring department.

“The IMI monitoring shows that the journalists who make trips to the front line to bring the true picture of the war to the world are often targeted by Russia. Furthermore, Russia employs various forms of violence to purge the information space in Ukraine’s occupied territories completely. Journalists play a key role in exposing Russia’s war crimes and defending human rights. In view of this, it is crucial that international organizations, governments and the public make every possible effort to defend journalists in wartime, ensure their safety, provide them with protection and support,” says Oksana Romaniuk, the director of the Institute of Mass Information.

In the two years of the war the IMI recorded 42 shelling strikes on journalists by Russia. The strikes were targeting journalists for Ukrainian and foreign outlets. For instance, in 2023 these included filming crews for the French channel TMC, the Česká Televize, the German Bild, the British BBC, the Swedish channel TV4, the Portuguese RTP, DW, and Ukrainian media: “Dom TV”, Radio Liberty, Donbas.Realii, “Zaborona”, “Graty”, Suspilne, etc.

At least 30 journalists were wounded while at work. Namely, journalists have suffered concussions, broken bones, limb injuries and shrapnel wounds due to Russian shelling. Of those, 14 media workers were injured during the second year since the start of the full-scale invasion.

For instance, multiple Ukrainian and foreign journalists were injured on December 30, 2023, and January 20, 2024, when the Russian army deliberately targeted the Kharkiv hotels where foreign journalists usually stay. At least five media workers were injured by these strikes.

Moreover, the IMI experts recorded four cases of media workers being abducted in the second year of the war. These include the Ukrainian journalists Victoria Roshchyna (went missing in the occupied territories) and Iryna Levchenko (kidnapped by the occupiers in Melitopol together with her husband). Their whereabouts are still unknown. The Russians also kidnapped the administrators of the Telegram channels "RIA-Melitopol" and "Melitopol is Ukraine" and are holding them captive under terrorism and espionage charges.

In the two years of the war the IMI recorded 69 Russian cyber attacks on Ukrainian media (22 incidents in 2023): targeting outlets’ websites and social media, interrupting TV broadcasts, spreading Russian propaganda, creating clones of popular online outlets to post fake news and sow panic among Ukrainians. The latest cyber attacks happened on February 18–19, 2024, and affected at least five Ukrainian media: “Telegraf”, “Apostrophe”,, the "Ukrainian Pravda" X account and "Espreso". The hacked resources posted disinformation about Russian troops “crushing” elite UAF units in Avidiivka.

Furthermore, the offices of at least 27 Ukrainian media outlets were seized by Russians to deliberately spread their aggressive propaganda in Ukraine’s occupied territories. Throughout the second year of the war the Russians continued to create propaganda mouthpieces, some of which were sponsored by Putin’s presidential fund.

At least 234 more media outlets shut down completely or in part in the two years of the war. Russia’s war on Ukraine continues to be a challenge for the media, as they are forced to close down due to the financial crisis triggered by the full-scale invasion. This is according to the publicly available data; IMI experts speculate that the real number of media outlets that had to shut down might be twice as large.

In the second year of the war the Russians damaged or destroyed at least eight Ukrainian media offices and their equipment. Namely, these are Nostalgie Radio (Nikopol, Dnipropetrovsk oblast), the “Mayak” newspaper (Beryslav, Kherson oblast), the online media “Cheline” (Chernihiv), ATN (Kharkiv), Suspilne.Kharkiv, the Ukrainian Radio, the media groups “Objektyv” (Kharkiv) and NV (Kyiv).

For reference, in the year since the start of the full-scale invasion Russia committed 497 crimes against journalists and the media in Ukraine.

Russia also maintains pressure on freedom of speech and continues the systemic violations of journalists’ rights in Ukraine’s occupied territories. For instance, officers of Russia’s Center for Countering Extremism searched the house of public activist, human rights advocate and journalist Lutfiye Zudieva in Crimea. The law enforcers detained her and opened an administrative case against her for allegedly abusing freedom of mass information. Lutfiye Zudieva reports on trials and mass searches in Crimea and supports the families of political prisoners.

In 2023 the Russians repeatedly searched the homes of Crimean citizen journalists, detained them next to court buildings and barred them from attending trials, namely in the Iryna Danylovych case. Multiple journalists unlawfully convicted by the occupation authorities and imprisoned in Russia (Iryna Danylovych, Amet Suleimanov, etc.) have reported their health deteriorating.

Learn more on the IMI website in the section "Freedom of Speech Barometer".

The Institute of Mass Information (IMI) is a public media organization that has been operating since 1995. The IMI defends the rights of journalists, analyzes the media field and covers media-related events, fights propaganda and disinformation and has been providing media outlets with safety gear for trips to the combat zone since the start of the Russo–Ukrainian war in 2014.

The IMI carries out Ukraine's only freedom of speech monitoring and keeps a list of high quality and sustainable online media outlets, documents Russia's crimes against the media committed in the course of the war on Ukraine. The IMI has representatives in 20 oblasts of Ukraine and a network of "Mediabaza" hubs to provide journalists with continuous support. The IMI's partners include Reporters Without Borders and Freedom House; the organization is a member of the International Organization for the Protection of Freedom of Expression (IFEX).

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