European Federation of Journalists

Journalist Bohdan Bitik shot dead in Ukraine

Credit: A picture taken on July 21, 2022 shows craters on Kherson's Antonivskiy bridge across the Dnipro river caused by a Ukrainian rocket strike, amid the ongoing Russian military action in Ukraine. (Photo by STRINGER / AFP)

Two journalists working for the Italian newspaper La Repubblica came under fire on 26 April 2023, while reporting near the Antonivskiy Bridge on the outskirts of Kherson, in southern Ukraine. A Ukrainian journalist working as a fixer, Bohdan Bitik, was shot dead. His Italian colleague, Corrado Zunino, was wounded in the shoulder.

Zunino was wearing a bulletproof vest marked “press” but it is unclear whether Bitik wore one as well. The attack was carried out “most likely by Russian snipers”, the newspaper reported.

“I’m well, I’ve got a wound in my right shoulder, shaved by the bullet that hit my great friend Bohdan,’’ Corrado Zunino told La Repubblica. “We passed three checkpoints, Bohdan talked to the Ukrainian military and they let us pass without problems. It wasn’t a fighting zone. Then we got hit, I saw Bohdan on the ground, he wasn’t moving. I crawled until I got out of the line of fire. I ran until I came across a civilian’s car. I was covered in blood, I got myself taken to the hospital in Kherson.”

The European and International Federations of Journalists (EFJ-IFJ) joined their Italian affiliate, the FNSI, in expressing deepest condolences to the relatives and colleagues of Bohdan Bitik and its solidarity with Corrado Zunino.

“The ambush @corzunino and the death of Bohdan Bitik is chilling news. And it reminds us all of the fundamental role of envoys in the field to inform us about wars,” tweeted FNSI President and Rai journalist Vittorio di Trapani.

The President of the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU), Sergiy Tomilenko added: “The murder of Ukrainian journalist Bohdan Bitik and the injury of Italian journalist Corrado Zunino are yet another war crime by the Russians. It is also proof of the danger our profession represents. The National Union of Journalists of Ukraine thanks the brave Italian journalists who are working on the front line. We appeal to the Italian journalists’ trade union and La Repubblica to guarantee the protection of the rights of the Ukrainian fixer as a member of the Italian media team.”

Bohgan Bitik is the 13th media worker killed on duty since Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February 2022.