Ukrainian photojournalist Ihor Hudenko died February 26. (Photo: Oleg Peregon)

Ukrainian photojournalist Ihor Hudenko died in February 

New York, May 20, 2022 – Ukrainian photojournalist and blogger Ihor Hudenko, who lost contact with his friends and family while in the northeastern city of Kharkiv on February 26, died that day, according to his colleague, journalist Oleg Peregon, who spoke to CPJ via messaging app after learning of Hudenko’s death Friday. Ukrainian public broadcaster Suspilne also reported on the death, citing a Facebook post by Svetlana Shkurat who identified herself as Hudenko’s friend. 

“We are saddened by the death of Ukrainian photojournalist Ihor Hudenko in Kharkiv, and send our condolences to his family and friends,” said Gulnoza Said, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator. “Ukrainian and Russian authorities must swiftly investigate Hudenko’s death amid the war, which has taken the lives of at least seven journalists covering it.” 

Hudenko was initially believed to be missing, as CPJ documented. Peregon, who worked with Hudenko, told CPJ that Hudenko died while filming on Kharkiv’s Natalia Uzhviy Street. 

Peregon learned of Hudenko’s death from local environmental group Green Front, whose events and protests Hudenko covered before the war. The group organized a search along with paramedics and volunteers in Kharkiv and located Hudenko’s grave, Peregon said, adding that Hudenko was buried on April 9. Kharkiv was under heavy shelling at the time, but CPJ was unable to immediately confirm the cause of death. 

On February 24, shortly after the start of the Russian invasion, Hudenko posted original photos and video of abandoned Russian tanks on his personal Facebook page. Peregon said Hudenko worked at the local TV broadcaster Glavnoe until 2016, and since then had made documentary films and covered events and protests held by the local environmental group Green Front. 

CPJ sent email requests for comments to the Kharkiv city administration and the ministries of defense of Ukraine and Russia but has not received any reply.

In addition to the at least seven journalists who have been killed while covering the war, CPJ is investigating whether at least six others were killed because of their work.  

Editor’s note: The name of the city where Hudenko died has been corrected in the third paragraph and paragraph five has been updated with information about Hudenko’s journalism.