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Ukrainian Ambassador in Austria outraged by Austrian journalist Christian Wehrschütz's report on Izyum

19.09.2022, 17:35
Photo: screenshot from OMF's video
Photo: screenshot from OMF's video

Ukrainian Ambassador to Austria Vasyl Khymynets was outraged by the report from Izyum by the correspondent of the Austrian ORF in Ukraine, Christian Wehrschütz. The Ukrainian ambassador wrote about this on his Twitter, writes Ukrinform.

Irritierend und verstörend: Berichterstattung über #Izyum in #zib2: Weltweit ist man entsetzt über die schweren Verbrechen der 🇷🇺 Armee, die in #Izyum entdeckt wurden. Nur der @ORF meldet Zweifel an. Hunderte Zivilpersonen, darunter ganze Familien: Ermordet und verstümmelt.

— Vasyl Khymynets (@VKhymynets) September 17, 2022

"Irritated and disturbed: report on Izyum on ZIB2 (daily news program ZIB2 on public broadcaster ORF – Ed.): The world is stunned by Russian army's terrible crimes which were revealed in Izyum. And only ORF doubts them. Hundreds of civilians, including entire families, were killed and maimed," Khymynets wrote.

He attached a photo from the mass burial site in Izyum which shows a hand of an exhumed person with a blue-yellow bracelet.

"Many were tortured before that, some were thrown into mass graves with their hands tied behind their backs. Many Russian torture camps have been discovered... Facts that shocked the world, but are being downplayed by the ORF correspondent. What is the reason for such relativistic journalism? What is the purpose? It's like mocking the victims. An insult to all the deceased. Shameful for ZIB2 and ORF," the Ambassador wrote.

Vasyl Khymynets also commented on the statement of ORF's correspondent in Ukraine, Christian Wehrschütz, who had said that no one remembers the mass murders of Ukrainians in Bucha now. "ZIB2, ORF – are you serious? The whole world is talking about Bucha. Day after day, journalists and foreign delegations arrive, talk to the survivors, horrified by what they have seen and heard, and report on the investigation of Russian war crimes conducted by international groups. Only the ORF correspondent has a different picture of reality. What should happen to sharpen his perception?" Khymynets wrote.

On September 16, ZIB2 aired a story about the mass graves discovered in the forest near Izyum, which had been liberated from Russian troops. In the story, ORF's correspondent in Ukraine Christian Wehrschütz talked about his trip to the liberated Izyum.

He stated that currently, the Ukrainian officials' statements regarding the war crimes possibly committed by the Russian Federation in Izyum cannot be verified and that "we have to wait for what the coroners say." Citing an unnamed "investigator from the Kharkiv police," the correspondent stated that the recovered bodies of the victims were found in a very bad condition, and that "there are signs of possible war crimes in some cases, but still many people there died from artillery shelling," writes Ukrinform.

At the same time, commenting on the importance that an investigation of these possible war crimes, decried by the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, would hold for Ukraine, the ORF correspondent pointed out that "we should not forget about the media and information war."

In this context, Wehrschütz pointed out that the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine specially gathered more than 100 journalists for the exhumation of victims.

Speaking about the "power of the image," the Austrian journalist also asked his audience to "remember Bucha" and what "great agitation" it had caused.

"But who is talking about this in the media today? Although, there is still no final investigation in this case, either – on who was doing what there and how," Wehrschütz is quoted as saying in the article.

As IMI reported, on March 9, 2019, the SBU banned Austrian journalist Christian Wehrschütz from entering Ukraine for a year and explained that this was done for his safety. "The reason for this decision was the need to ensure the journalist's safety. We remind that Christian Wehrschütz has stressed the threats to his life in Ukraine in his interview. In order to avoid possible provocations during the Austrian journalist's stay in our country, the SBU, in accordance with the law, made a decision to ban his entry," the message read.

Ukraine's Ambassador to Austria at the time, Oleksandr Shcherba, said in his interview to Austrian radio station Ö1 on March 8 that the journalist had "demonstrably" violated the law when he and his crew were reporting from the Russia-annexed Crimea in the summer of 2018. The report mentioned entering to the peninsula via the Kerch Bridge from Russia. Kyiv considers this a violation of Ukrainian laws, DW reported.

On March 13, the spokeswoman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Kateryna Zelenko, said that the entry ban for Austrian journalist Christian Wehrschütz had nothing to do censorship, but was a consequence of his disregard for Ukrainian legislation.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Austria condemned the entry ban for the journalist as "unacceptable censorship in Europe."

On March 27, 2018, Christian Wehrschütz filed a lawsuit to declare the SBU's decision to ban entry illegal.

On April 12, 2019, it became known that the Security Service of Ukraine had canceled the ban on entry to Ukraine for Christian Wehrschütz.

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