European Federation of Journalists

Ukraine: Four journalists injured in drone strikes in Kharkiv and Zaporizhzhia


On 4 and 5 April, Russian drone strikes hit respectively the Ukrainian regions of Kharkiv and Zaporizhzhia injuring at least four journalists, with some ending at the hospital in serious and worrying health conditions. The International and European Federation of Journalists (IFJ-EFJ) together with their affiliates the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU) and the Independent Media Trade Union of Ukraine (IMTUU) call for Russian authorities to put an end to these attacks, that endanger the safety not only of civilians but also of journalists engaged in the performance of their duties.

On 4 April, Russian drone strikes hit the Kharkiv region, injuring two journalists, Yuliya Boyko, a correspondent for Novini. Live news site, and Viktor Pichugin, working for the Nakipelo news media project. According to NUJU, Boyko was covering the aftermath of a previous drone strike when she found herself “5-6 metres” away from the shelling. Pichugin was wounded when reporting on the impact of the strike on first-aid volunteers in the area.

According to media outlets, Boyko showed signs of concussion following the strike and awaits thorough medical examinations.

Less than a day later, on 5 April, journalists Olha Zvonaryova, a reporter working for the state news agency Ukrinform, and Kira Oves, a correspondent of the national TV channel 1+1, were injured in another strike while reporting on the damages caused by previous missile strikes. Oves sustained a head injury, while Zvonaryova suffered a severe leg injury and underwent surgery. According to Ukrinform, Zvonaryova’s condition is now stable, but she remains hospitalised.

After she was wounded, Oves stated“As a result of the missile attack, I was injured, namely a cut head injury. I can say that I am lucky – my colleague Olha Zvonaryova was affected much more. We worked near the site of the first rocket attack, we were recording the damage, and interviewing people. Suddenly we hear a whistle overhead and immediately an explosion. I didn’t feel the wound, I just felt the blood running down my face. We ran to find a place to hide because there could be other attacks.”

President of the NUJU Sergiy Tomilenko said: Since the beginning of the war, we have recorded targeted attacks by the Russian military on journalists on the territory of Ukraine. The tactic of repeated shelling of places that have already been hit, where rescue workers and journalists are working, is becoming the norm in Russia’s war against journalists. We admire the courage of journalists who are dedicated to promptly informing their audience and, despite the danger, continue to work close to the front line.”

The IFJ/EFJ said: “ These continuous attacks on civilians and journalists not only jeopardise their lives but also undermine the very essence of press freedom. These acts orchestrated by Russian authorities aim to silence the voices daring to expose their atrocities. We send our full solidarity and support to all journalists who were injured in recent attacks and condemn Russian authorities. These crimes must stop now.”