European Federation of Journalists

Ukraine: Two Italian journalists and their interpreter targeted by Russian forces in Kherson

Credits: Claudio Locatelli

Italian freelance journalist Claudio Locatelli was injured by Russian fire on December 19 in the southern city of Kherson, while driving a car marked clearly as press, together with photojournalist Niccolò Celesti and their interpreter, Daniel. The International and European Federation of Journalists (IFJ-EFJ) join their affiliate, the National Federation of the Italian Press (FNSI), in condemning the deliberate attack and recalling that Ukraine is the deadliest country for journalists and media workers in 2022 with 12 killed. On Wednesday, at the request of the Italian embassy, the Ukrainian authorities opened an investigation into a possible war crime.

On December 20, Locatelli shared a video on his Facebook account stating that his vehicle had been “intentionally” targeted by Russian forces the previous day. The Italian news agency ANSA reported the attack, citing the journalist’s video.

“The car was well marked, there was no one else. The attack on us given the location and dynamics was intentional,” said the freelance reporter. “The shot came from the east bank beyond the Dnipro river, where the Russian army is stationed. Shooting at the press has no excuse,” he added.

Both journalists managed escape fire with minimal injuries.

The war in Ukraine has accounted for 12 media fatalities to date in 2022, becoming the most dangerous country for journalists this year, according to the IFJ’s Killed List.

In a statement, FNSI President Giuseppe Giulietti condemned the attack and expressed his solidarity with the injured journalists.

In a joint statement, the IFJ-EFJ said: “Attacks against journalists and media workers should be strongly condemned by international authorities. The deliberate targeting of our Italian colleagues in Ukraine shows the urgent need for a collective effort to protect media professionals in war zones: these crimes must not remain unpunished.”

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the IFJ/EFJ have spent 200,000 euros to support journalists and media workers on the ground, thanks to journalist to journalist, and union to union solidarity. However, the war is still ongoing and the lives of journalists are at risk.

To donate to the IFJ/EFJ Safety Fund for Journalists in Ukraine, click here.