Kiev forces continue to deliberately target journalists
There are increasing calls within Ukraine to kill Russian journalists in exchange for financial rewards.
Since the start of the special military operation in Ukraine, many journalists have been deliberately targeted while on duty, the last of which was Rostislav Zhuravlev, who was killed by cluster bombs that the US provided Kiev forces with.
This doesn’t stop here, as there are increasing calls within Ukraine to kill Russian journalists in exchange for financial rewards. The Ukrainian "Peacemaker" website also continues to publish data and addresses of people, including journalists, it describes as "Kremlin agents", posing a threat to their safety.
Meanwhile, all relevant international organizations are silent and turn a blind eye to this bloodshed.
Al Mayadeen English interviewed several journalists covering the war on the front lines, yet are struggling to convey the truth.
There is no typical day for the Italian independent journalist Andrea Lucidi. The most exciting days are those when he gets the opportunity to visit the front lines and live among Russian soldiers.
Lucidi doesn't just rush to document the war. He is very interested in conveying the lives of soldiers, talking to them, and understanding what they experience while performing their duty.
Lucidi recounts to Al Mayadeen English the undocumented details of his work:
"When you turn off the cameras, you are no longer talking to a soldier with his face covered, but rather to the guy from Lugansk who has been fighting for two or three years and has a lot to tell, you look at his face and think that he could be one of the many boys you meet in the city every day."
While on the front line, you can hear and see artillery shots.
A memory etched in Lucidi’s mind is when he took a cab from Donetsk to interview some children who were offered help by an Italian humanitarian association in 2014.
"As we approached the village, which is called 'Gagarin mines', north of the city, we began to hear artillery shots, at one moment, our driver, said he wouldn’t go further and left us about 800 meters from our destination. I thought we could just walk and because we had heard nearby shelling, we put on our protective gear: helmets and jackets. We started walking down this small road. In the distance, we saw the houses of the village. Then, a few minutes later, we saw the roof of one of these houses literally explode. Near the residency, there was a small store, the owner waved us inside and so we took refuge inside this store, in the innermost part, for about 20 minutes, waiting for the bombing to end. If we had arrived 10 minutes earlier, we would have been right under that house that had been hit hard by 155mm artillery shells."
Despite all the dangers that Lucidi has gone through, he considers that the most unfortunate event is the targeting of Russian journalists.
"Many in Europe think that Russian journalists are propagandists, orcs or monsters, and there were many, among my Italian haters, who wished me to end up like Rostislav. By the way, the speaker of the Ukrainian army declared in a video published on Twitter that Ukraine will hunt down all Russian propagandists around the world, considering them criminals."
Independent journalist Sonja van den Ende has covered the wars in Syria and Ukraine but believes that the war in the former was more brutal "because of the Jihadist/Takfirist factions who used brutal medieval methods."
Similarly, Sonja compares the ISIS killing methods to those of the Azov battalion who are torturing civilians and Russian prisoners of war (PoW).
Last July, the Dutch journalist was on the ground in Donbass when news broke out that Rostislav Zhuravlev, the war correspondent for RIA Novosti, was killed as a result of shelling with US cluster munition.
"It's very awful to realize that journalists are being killed just because they are trying to report the truth," she told Al Mayadeen English.
She continued, "He is not the first journalist to be killed, but lately, the situation is getting more brutal. Cluster munition is forbidden by the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), but the West which is supporting this proxy war in Ukraine doesn’t care at all about that. Recently, the UK has sent depleted uranium shells to Ukraine, despite being forbidden.
These facts show that the West has become a criminal region and the US a very criminal country!"
Van den Ende and other foreign journalists were listed on Myrotvorets' so-called "peacemakers" list, which she describes as a "kill list".
"Journalists like Darya Dugina, who I knew personally and Vladlen Tatarsky were on this list and were killed in a brutal manner. The list is actually from the CIA, as shown on the list, the address is Langley, Virginia, the HQ of the CIA, supported by the European Union."
According to van den Ende, "There was an attempt by a few EU MPs to shut down the list, but the majority of the EU MPs voted against this, so they don't care if their own journalists are getting killed apparently!"
French journalist Kristel Nean constantly looks for shelling reports and news. Based on the situation -- mainly security -- she then decides whether she should head to the targeted area.
The main difficulty she faces as an independent journalist is that she has to deal with everything by herself, such as setting up interviews, monitoring the situation, editing videos, transcribing, translating, as well as maintaining that the website and social networks are running.
Nean went through many unforgettable situations, but the one particular situation that made her believe that she might be living her last moments was when she witnessed the five-hour bombing of the Petrovsky district in Donetsk in June last year, in which her car was completely destroyed.
"It's always hard." With these words, Nean described her feelings whenever hearing the news of the killing of her fellow journalists, saying:
"Every time one of my colleagues dies during their work mission, I feel as if I’ve lost a friend. The fact that Ukraine deliberately targets journalists means clearly it has something to hide, and that it is a criminal and terrorist state. Most journalists were recently killed during terrorist attacks, and Kiev is proud of that. The worst is that international organizations are silent about these crimes."