Russian forces fired a missile that struck the northern Ukrainian city of Chernihiv, injuring freelance Ukrainian journalist Arsen Chepurnyi (left), while he and Dmytro Falchevskyi (right) were covering a drone exhibition on August 19, 2023. (Photo Credit: Arsen Chepurnyi)

Journalist Arsen Chepurnyi injured in Russian missile strike in Ukraine

On August 19, 2023, Russian forces fired a missile that struck the northern Ukrainian city of Chernihiv, injuring Arsen Chepurnyi, a freelance Ukrainian journalist with the local news website Chas Chernihivskyi, according to the journalist and by local press freedom group Institute of Mass Information and local trade group National Union of Journalists of Ukraine.  

Chepurnyi and Dmytro Falchevskyi, a camera operator with Chas Chernihivskyi, were covering a drone exhibition hosted in a theater in Chernihiv when an air-raid siren sounded, Chepurnyi told CPJ. 

As the journalists ran to the shelter in the theater’s basement, an explosion shattered the building’s windows, sending glass into Chepurnyi’s left hand. He also sprained ligaments in his left leg when he tripped over a window frame that had been knocked onto the floor.

Paramedics in the shelter provided Chepurnyi with first aid and bandaged his hand, Chepurnyi told CPJ. Falchevskyi was not injured.

“I’m still recovering, but doing okay,” Chepurnyi told CPJ on August 28.

Russian state news agency RIA Novosti said that the strike on Chernihiv had targeted a gathering of Ukrainian Armed Forces specialists on combat drones. The attack killed seven civilians and injured at least 180.

CPJ’s email to the Russian Defense Ministry did not receive any reply.

In addition to reporting for Chas Chernihivskyi, Chepurnyi told CPJ that he is working on a media project about people from the Chernihiv region and how they responded during the Russian forces’ March 2022 siege of the city.  

At least 15 journalists have been killed in relation to their work in Ukraine since Russia’s full-scale invasion of the country in February 2022.