Paris, March 15, 2022 – Russian and Ukrainian forces must ensure that journalists can cover the ongoing war safely, and those responsible for journalists’ deaths must be held to account, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Tuesday.
On Monday, March 14, a vehicle carrying a news team with the U.S. broadcaster Fox News was attacked near the village of Horenka, outside of Kyiv, according to a statement by Fox News, media reports, and a Ukrainian army official who spoke to CPJ on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press.
Camera operator Pierre Zakrzewski and Ukrainian journalist Oleksandra Kuvshynova died from injuries sustained during the attack, according to that statement and news reports. Correspondent Benjamin Hall was injured and remains hospitalized, those reports said.
Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs adviser Anton Gerashchenko posted on Telegram that the team was attacked by mortars fired by Russian forces. However, the news reports and the Fox News statement did not specify the suspected source of the attack.
“We are deeply saddened by the deaths of Pierre Zakrzewski and Oleksandra Kuvshynova in Ukraine while they were working with Fox News, and we are hoping that correspondent Benjamin Hall recovers from his injuries,” said Gulnoza Said, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator, in New York. “Reporting on this war is a vital public service, and it has already claimed the lives of at least two other journalists in just a few weeks. Ukrainian and Russian authorities must do their utmost to ensure safety of all journalists, and to thoroughly investigate attacks on the press.”
Svyatoslav Yurash, a former Fox News producer who was familiar with the case, told CPJ in a phone interview that the team’s car was “shattered beyond recognition” by the attack.
On March 7, the Associated Press reported that Russian shelling of Horenka had reduced one area of the town to “ashes and shards of glass.”
Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin wrote on Twitter that he was “disturbed and saddened” by the death of Zakrzewski, who was an Irish citizen.
CPJ emailed the Russian and Ukrainian Ministries of Defense for comment, but did not receive any replies.
[Editors’ note: This article has been updated in its sixth paragraph to include additional comments by Yurash.]