New York, March 2, 2022 – In response to reports that Ukrainian journalist Yevhenii Sakun was killed on Tuesday, March 1, when Russian forces shelled a television tower in Kyiv, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement of condemnation:
“We are deeply saddened by the death of Ukrainian journalist Yevhenii Sakun, who was killed in a reckless Russian attack on civilian infrastructure in Kyiv,” said Gulnoza Said, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator. “All parties to the conflict must protect local and international journalists and stop targeting media facilities and equipment.”
Sakun, 49, was a camera operator for the Ukrainian television station LIVE, which had covered the Russian invasion, according to a post on Twitter by his former colleague, EFE Noticias reporter Olga Tokariuk, and a post on Facebook by Sergiy Tomilenko, the head of the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine, a local professional union. Tomilenko told CPJ via email that Sakun was working along with his colleagues at the time of the attack, and his body was identified by his press card.
Tomilenko told CPJ and wrote on Facebook that the Ukrainian National Police had confirmed Sakun’s death to the journalist’s union.
Four other people were killed in that attack, according to reports. Russian forces also shelled TV towers in the eastern Ukrainian cities of Kharkiv and Lisichansk on Wednesday, according to news reports, which did not immediately report any casualties in those attacks.
Separately, on February 26, two journalists with the Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet were shot while reporting near the eastern Ukrainian city of Ohtyrka, according to news reports, a report by their employer, and Ekstra Bladet chief editor Knud Brix, who spoke to CPJ in a phone interview.
The journalists were reporting from the location of a suspected Russian airstrike when a bomb exploded nearby them and unidentified attackers fired “20 or 30 rounds” at the journalists, Brix said, hitting reporter Stefan Weichert once in the shoulder and photographer Emil Filtenborg Mikkelsen three times: twice in his legs, and once in his back.
The journalists were able to escape the scene and received treatment at a local hospital, Brix told CPJ, adding that they were in stable condition and were expected to recover.
Brix said that both journalists wore protective equipment that identified them as members of the press, and had shouted “press!” while they were under attack.
[Editors’ note: This article has been changed in its sixth paragraph to correct the spelling of Ekstra Bladet.]