Paris, September 9, 2022 – In response to news reports that Italian freelance journalist Mattia Sorbi was injured and his unnamed driver was killed when the two reportedly drove over a mine in the southern Ukrainian region of Kherson, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement:
“CPJ is saddened by the death of a driver and wishes Mattia Sorbi a speedy recovery,” said Carlos Martínez de la Serna, CPJ’s program director, in New York. “We call on Russian and Ukrainian authorities to investigate this tragic incident. Journalists are civilians under international humanitarian law and should be protected as such.”
CPJ was unable to determine when the explosion, which was first reported on Thursday, September 8, occurred. The Russian defense ministry said the incident took place on August 29, Russian state-owned news agency Interfax reported, but freelance journalist Arndt Ginzel wrote on Facebook on September 6 that he had last been in touch with Sorbi on August 31.
Media reported that Sorbi was working in Ukraine as a war correspondent for Italian public broadcaster RAI. CPJ emailed RAI but did not receive any reply.
The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it was “in constant contact with the journalist” and was “working to get him back safely to Italy,” RAI reported.
CPJ emailed the Russian and Ukrainian ministries of defense but did not receive any reply.