Russia was reportedly involved in at least 148 cases of targeting journalists in the first month of its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
The Russian army killed five journalists, injured seven others and participated in at least 136 other “crimes” against members of the media in Ukraine between February 24 and March 23, according to a report published Thursday by the Kyiv-based Institute of Mass Information (IMI).
Russian journalist Oksana Baulina is the latest to die, killed while on assignment in Kyiv amid Russian shelling on Wednesday. Ukrainian cameraman Yevhen Sakun was the first, after being fatally injured in a Russian rocket attack on a TV tower in kyiv on March 1.
American Time magazine journalist Brent Renaud, a former award-winning correspondent for The New York Timeswas shot dead by Russian troops at a checkpoint in the Kyiv suburb of Irpen on March 13.
Two members of a Fox News crew, Irish cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski and Ukrainian producer Oleksandra Kuvshynova, were killed when Russian forces shelled the village of Gorenka on March 14. Fox News correspondent Benjamin Hall was among seven reporters the report said were injured by the Russian. military.
The IMI report also accuses Russia of kidnapping at least six journalists, issuing death threats against 11 others, and intentionally targeting media facilities and shooting at people. journalists. Deliberately attacking journalists is considered a war crime under international law.
On Friday, the United Nations (UN) warned that journalists, as well as local Ukrainian officials and “civil society activists” opposed to the invasion, had been subjected to “enforced disappearances” which would have were perpetrated by the Russian army.
The UN has documented 15 disappearances involving journalists and activists, and 22 involving local officials. Reports of missing persons come as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine drags on, with Russia facing charges of war crimes and targeting civilians.
In a media call, Matilda Bogner, head of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, said enforced disappearances “seem to be a pattern that is happening in areas occupied by the Russian Federation“.
“The forces of the Russian Federation will specifically detain, and do not inform relatives and others where they are taking people,” Bogner said, according to Agence France-Presse. “In some cases it appears to be a form of hostage taking.
Also on Friday, the Parisian association Reporters Without Borders (RSF) noted that Russian forces were “intimidating and threatening journalists and local media” as part of an attempt to “stop them from reporting the facts” and instead “get them to spread Kremlin propaganda”.
“By taking hostages, after bombing television towers and shooting at cars marked ‘Press’, the Russian authorities are showing their determination to censor any report that contradicts their military propaganda,” said Jeanne Cavelier, head of the Europe office. East and Central Asia from RSF. in a report.
“We strongly condemn these acts of intimidation and call on the Russian authorities to stop targeting journalists,” Cavelier added. “They will have to answer for their actions before international courts.”
In addition, dissident Russian journalists have reportedly been targeted at home. Alexei Venediktov, a former editor of a Russian radio station who was critical of the invasion of Ukraine, said this week that he was left with a severed pig’s head on the doorstep of his apartment in Moscow next to sticker depicting a Ukrainian coat of arms emblazoned with the words “Jewish Pig.”
Venediktov’s former radio station, Echo of Moscow, was forced to cease operations by Russian authorities on March 3 for daring to criticize the invasion.
Newsweek contacted the Russian Embassy in Washington, DC, for comment.