Russians continue killing and abducting journalists and seizing editorial offices


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In the two months since the full-blown invasion of Ukraine, russia has committed 243 crimes against journalists and the media, the Institute of Mass Information (IMI) has reported.   

Russian crimes against journalists and the media have been documented in 16 regions of Ukraine, with the most in Kyiv city and region (journalists murdered, wounded, missing, abducted, shot at, TV towers shelled, threats, cybercrimes) followed by Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions. Some cities in these two regions have been occupied by the russian army. Journalists there have been abducted and shot at, there have been threats, cybercrimes, editorial offices have been seized and Ukrainian broadcasting has been shut off. 

As of April 24, 7 journalists have been killed while carrying out their professional duty, 9 injured and at least 15 missing.  


The journalists killed: 


  • Yevhen Sakun, TV LIVE cameraman (died on March 1 in a russian missile strike on a TV tower in Kyiv);
  • Brent Renaud, documentary filmmaker and The Times reporter (shot by russians on March 13 at a checkpoint in Irpin); 
  • Pierre Zakzewski, Fox News cameraman, Irish citizen (died on March 14 in a russian shelling attack on Horenka village, Kyiv region);
  • Oleksandra Kuvshynova, Ukrainian fixer, journalist (died on March 14 together with Pierre Zakrzewski in a russian shelling attack on Horenka village, Kyiv region);
  • Aksana Baulina, journalist working for the russian The Insider, Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (died on March 23 under russian artillery fire in Kyiv while carrying out an editorial assignment);
  • Maksym Levin, photo reporter, war correspondent, had worked for many international agencies and Ukrainian media (went missing on March 13, found murdered on April 1);
  • Mantas Kvedaravicius, Lithuanian documentary filmmaker (killed in Mariupol).


Another 14 journalists have been killed as combatants or as a result of russian shelling, not while performing their journalist duties: Viktor Dudar, military journalist; Oleh Yakunin, Zaporizhzhia website editor; Yurii Oliynyk, Channel 24 cameraman; Serhiy Zaikovskyy, essayist, historian, translator; Yevhen Bal, journalist, author, volunteer.


IMI has documented 8 cases of journalists being captured and abducted by russians. In these cases, at least 9 journalists were taken hostage. Most of them have already been released, but the fate of one of the journalists, Dmytro Khylyuk, who disappeared in Kyiv region, is still unknown. Colleagues had some intelligence about him being taken hostage; however, the region had already been liberated from the occupiers, yet nothing is known about the journalist’s whereabouts.


In addition, the fate of at least 14 journalists from Mariupol also remains unknown.


The list of russian crimes also includes shelling, threats, harassment of journalists, shelling and seizure of TV towers, hacking attacks on Ukrainian media websites, shelling of media offices, shutting down Ukrainian broadcasting, blocking access to Ukrainian media websites in russia and the occupied Crimea.


At least 106 regional media outlets were forced to cease their work due to threats from the russian occupiers, seizure of offices, inability to work under temporary occupation and print newspapers, etc.


The russian occupiers have shelled 11 TV towers in 8 regions of Ukraine: Melitopol (Zaporizhzhia region), Kyiv and Vinarivka village (Kyiv region), Kharkiv (hit the TV tower twice) and the region (Izyum), Rivne, Vinnytsia, Korosten (Zhytomyr region), Lysychansk (Luhansk region), Bilopillya (Sumy region). As a result of russian air strikes, Ukrainian broadcasting has completely or partially disappeared in these regions.


In addition, the occupiers have seized Ukrainian media offices and switched the broadcasting to russian channels. In particular, the russian invaders forcibly shut Kherson and Melitopol off from Ukrainian broadcasting, and mined Suspilne’s building in Kherson.


IMI has also recorded numerous DDoS attacks on the websites of Ukrainian online media and NGOs covering russia’s war against Ukraine, and phishing attacks on Ukrainian media offices and journalists.


In the first month of the full-scale invasion, russian troops committed 148 crimes against journalists and the media. Local media in Mariupol are receiving constant threats. 


Journalist Vladyslav Yesypenko, who has been imprisoned by the russian occupiers in Crimea, has been awarded the 2022 PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award by PEN America.