Journalists At War. The Monitoring of Russian Occupiers’ Crimes Against Independent Media In 2023 (to be updated)

Journalists At War. The Monitoring of Russian Occupiers’ Crimes Against Independent Media In 2023 (to be updated)
Photo: Mstyslav Chernov

While oppressing independent journalism in its own country, the Kremlin is as well exterminating it at the war Russia is waging against Ukraine. Russian military shell Ukrainian TV towers and vehicles with "PRESS" written on them; they cannot be stopped by international humanitarian law or at least basic moral standards. PEN Ukraine is documenting the aggressor’s crimes against free Ukrainian and international media. Every loss is staggering. As of May 23, 2023, 59 Ukrainian and foreign media workers have been killed by Russian occupiers since the beginning of the full-scale invasion.


Lviv journalist and activist Viktor Petrov was killed at the frontline on May 29. Viktor was the first editor of the Sykhiv Media outlet (2016-2019), a member of the Institute of Social Initiatives, and the founder of the What If creative film studio. He served in the 54th separate mechanized brigade named after Hetman Ivan Mazepa.

Viktor Petrov. Photo from Society Initiatives Institute's Facebook page

Ukrainian anthropologist and journalist Yevhenii Osiievskyi was killed on May 22 near Bakhmut. He voluntarily enlisted in the Armed Forces of Ukraine on November 3, 2022. Osiievskyi served as a rifleman medic in the 77th airmobile brigade. Yevhenii Osiievskyi was an author with the Kunsht and Spilne media. In between the combat missions, he prepared his last publication – an interview with the British geneticist Adam Rutherford. The interview was published in the Kunsht magazine five days before Osiievskyi’s death at the frontline.

Photo from Yevhenii Osiievskyi's Facebook

On May 17, Ivan Kuzminskyi, musicologist and television director, was killed by the occupiers near Dibrova in the Luhansk region. Before Russia’s full-scale invasion, Kuzminskyi carried on research activity in the sphere of ancient Ukrainian music and worked as a director at Maliatko TV Channel. He participated in the defense of Kyiv, then served in the 67th separate mechanized brigade in the Bakhmut direction.


Іван Кузьмінський. Фото: Бердичівська міська рада
Ivan Kuzminskyi. Photo: Berdychiv city council

On May 15, it became known that naturalist photographer Denys Kryvyi was killed near Bakhmut while attempting to evacuate his wounded friends in combat. Denys Kryvyi did landscape and reportage photography, animalist and aerial shooting. He was awarded with the FIAP prize from the most prestigious European photographers’ contest. His footage was published in the National Geographic and in the GardCity outlet in Pervomaisk. Today, the photographs by Denys Kryvyi adorn the guides to the Buzkyi Gard National Park in the Mykolaiv region.

Denys Kryvyi. Photo: Halyna Volgina

On May 9, French video journalist Arman Soldin was deadly injured in a missile shelling near Chasiv Yar. His colleagues from the AFP News Agency witnessed his death.


Arman Soldin. Photo: Twitter AFP


On April 29, Volodymyr Mukan was killed on a combat mission in Bakhmut. Before the full-scale war, Volodymyr had worked as a journalist and editor at the Newspaper in Ukrainian, Kraina magazine, and website. He was also a co-organizer of the Old Car Land – the biggest retro festival in Ukraine.

Volodymyr Mukan. Photo from Volodymyr's Facebook

By the end of April, it became known that Oleksandr Bondarenko, journalist and an employee of the RMA Strategic Communications Agency, was killed near Kreminna in the Luhansk region. Oleksandr had been defending Ukraine since the very first days of the full-scale invasion. He began his career as a radio host in Luhansk, then worked at BBC Ukraine and Ukraine TV Channel.


Oleksandr Bondarenko. Photo: NUJU

Bohdan Bitik, a producer with La Repubblica, was killed in a Russian attack in Kherson on April 26. That day, he worked in the city together with the outlet’s correspondent Corrado Zunino. The journalists were attacked by Russian snipers near the Antonivka Road Bridge after they got out of the car. Both were wearing jackets with "PRESS" written on them. Corrado Zunino got four wounds.

Bohdan Bitik (from left). Photo: La Repubblica website

Dmytro Siryk, a radio host with Suspilne, was killed in battle on April 20. Dmytro had worked in the media field for more than 15 years: he had been a DJ, music editor, and radio presenter. He had long worked in Luhansk but moved to his native Severodonetsk in 2014, after the regional center was occupied. In March 2022, Dmytro voluntarily enlisted in the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Photo from Dmytro Siryk's personal archive

Vladyslav Dzikovskyi went missing in December 2022 on his combat mission in the Luhansk region, and in early April 2023, it became known of his death. He had worked as a system administrator at the Detector Media for more than ten years and was mobilized into the army on March 23, 2022. Dzikovskyi served as a senior machine gunner of an armored vehicle in the operational battalion of the National Guard of Ukraine, named after Serhii Kulchytskyi.

Vladyslav Dzikovskyi. Photo: Detector media

Andrii Boyko, an ex-cameraman with the Vezha TRC, enlisted in the Armed Forces of Ukraine since the beginning of the full-scale invasion. He was killed on April 6, in a hostile attack near Huliaipole in the Zaporizhzhia region. Andrii served as an infantry platoon commander in the 102nd separate brigade of the Territorial Defense Forces, named after colonel Dmytro Vitovskyi.

Andrii Boyko. Photo: Facebook/ the Vezha TRC


On March 26, it became known that journalist Oleksandr Tsakhniv was killed in battle in the Bakhmut direction. This was reported by the Vchasno news agency where Tsakhniv had worked before the full-scale invasion. Until he became a journalist, Oleksandr was engaged in democratic development of his native Donetsk region by organizing social and cultural events.

Oleksandr Tsakhniv. Photo: Suspilne Donbas

On March 13, Oleksii Olkhovyk, a cameraman with Suspilne, was shot dead from an anti-tank grenade launcher near Bakhmut. Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, Oleksii enlisted in the 241st brigade of Kyiv Territorial Defense Forces. In autumn 2022, he received a shrapnel wound but returned to the frontline in a month of recovery.

Photo: Oleksii Olkhovyk/Facebook


The funeral of Andrii Zahoruiko, the author and host of the Kyiv Stories historical project, took place in Kyiv on February 21. Andrii began his television career as a director, screenwriter and cameraman at the Finfort TV production studio in Donetsk. He later worked at TV channels such as Tonis and City. In 2012, Andrii Zahoruiko joined the team of Kyiv TV Channel. He was killed on November 3, 2022, in the village of Spirne near Bakhmut, but was only buried on February 21 because the DNA expertise had lasted for this whole time.


Andrii Zahoruiko. Photo: NUJU

Oleksii Borys, journalist and a serviceman of the 58th motorized infantry brigade, was killed at the frontline on February 9. Before the full-scale invasion, Oleksii had worked at the Legal Newspaper. Until the spring 2021, he had held the position of a paralegal at the Arzinger legal company.

Oleksii Borys. Photo: Yurydychna gazeta

On February 5, Pavlo Tymoshenko, a cameraman with Inter TV Channel, was killed in battle against Russian occupiers near the town of Vuhledar. Tymoshenko had also fought for Bakhmut. He served as a rifleman in the 118th brigade, 157th separate battalion of the Cherkasy territorial defense. Pavlo had a disability; still, he voluntarily enlisted in the Territorial Defense Forces since the beginning of the full-scale war.

Pavlo Tymoshenko. Photo: Stanislav Kukharuk's Facebook

Serhii Klymenko, an employee of Suspilne:Kherson, was also killed on February 5, in battle for Maryinka. Serhii was a radio and sound engineer. He enlisted in the Armed Forces of Ukraine in September 2022.

Serhii Klymenko. Photo: Oleksandr Tsykura/Facebook/Suspilne


On January 28, Ihor Teriokhin, writer and journalist from Odesa, was killed at the frontline. Teriokhin worked at the RIAC TRC and was a team member of the Hlas Mediagroup. He defended Ukraine at the frontline since the very first days of Russia’s full-scale invasion.


Photo: Ihor Teriokhin's Facebook
june 8, 2023
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