The Ukrainian General Prosecutor says one dozen journalists have been killed in Ukraine in the course of their work since the Russian invasion began.
The international press watchdog group Reporters Without Borders however on Tuesday put the figure lower. It said Tuesday that five journalists have been killed since the war started.
RSF called on Russian and Ukrainian authorities to guarantee the safety of media personnel in Ukraine. „Attacking journalists is a war crime,” it said in a statement.
Ukrainian General Prosecutor Iryna Venediktova expressed a sense of crisis, saying that „Revealing the truth about Putin’s aggression is getting increasingly risky and dangerous.”
In a Facebook post on Saturday, she said besides the 12 victims, there were 10 other journalists who „have received injuries of varying severity,” Ukayinska Pravda reported. She did not list the 12 journalists.
U.S. media outlets reported that American journalist and filmmaker Brent Renaud was killed on March 13 when Russian troops opened fire on his car.
American television network Fox News said two of its journalists were killed and another was injured when they were attacked outside the Ukrainian capital Kyiv on March 14.
Independent Russian news site The Insider said one of its journalists, Oksana Baulina, 24, was killed during shelling in Kyiv on March 23.
She was hit by a “kamikaze drone” – an aerial combat drone containing an explosive, according to her news organization, the Latvian-based Russian online investigative media outlet The Insider.
At the time, she was reporting on damage caused by a strike on a shopping center in a suburb of the capital. For security reasons, she was accompanied by two police officers, who were injured in the attack.
“A quarter of the journalists killed since the start of the year worldwide have died in the past 30 days while covering the war in Ukraine,” said Jeanne Cavelier, the head of RSF’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk.
“Their reporting is essential in order to understand the war in Ukraine, and attacking journalists is a war crime under international law. We call on the Russian and Ukrainian authorities to guarantee their safety on the ground.”
RSF has been keeping a tally of attacks and other abuses against journalists since the start of the war in Ukraine. In addition to the five killed, nine other journalists have been injured by gunfire, missiles or artillery fire. Local journalists are being subjected to a great deal of harassment in the occupied zones, it said.
Ukraine is ranked 97th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2021 World Press Freedom Index. Russia is ranked 150th.