New York, May 10, 2022 – Anyone with information concerning the whereabouts of Ukrainian photojournalist and blogger Ihor Hudenko should come forward immediately, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Tuesday.
Hudenko lost contact with his friends and family while in the northeastern city of Kharkiv on February 26, according to the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine, a local advocacy and trade group, news reports, and Kharkiv-based journalist Oleg Peregon, who worked with Hudenko and spoke to CPJ in a phone interview. Kharkiv and the surrounding region have been the site of intense fighting since late February, when Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine began, according to news reports.
“Anyone with any information on the whereabouts of Ukrainian photojournalist Ihor Hudenko should come forward at once,” said CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Gulnoza Said. “Many Ukrainian journalists have gone missing amid the Russian invasion, and Hudenko’s disappearance nearly three months ago is very concerning. If Russian forces have any information on his status, they should disclose it immediately and respect the rights of journalists to report freely and safely.”
Peregon told CPJ that he and Hudenko cover environmental issues in Kharkiv. He said Hudenko worked at the local TV broadcaster Glavnoe until 2016, and since then had made documentary films and contributed to outlets including Radio Svoboda, the Ukrainian service of the U.S. Congress-funded broadcaster Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Hudenko also covered events and protests held by the local environmental group Green Front, Peregon said.
CPJ emailed the Russian Defense Ministry for comment but did not immediately receive any reply.
Russian forces have held Dmitro Khilyuk, a reporter for the independent Ukrainian news agency UNIAN, since early March, as CPJ has documented. Crimea-based journalist Iryna Danilovich has been missing since April 29.