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6 Mar, 2022 14:35

UK journalists praised by PM as one-sided evidence suggests they were hit by Russians in Kiev

A Sky News crew have accused a Russian squad of firing at them – after the Ukrainian forces told the reporters so
UK journalists praised by PM as one-sided evidence suggests they were hit by Russians in Kiev

British prime minister Boris Johnson has commended the bravery of Sky News journalists, who were shot near the Ukrainian capital Kiev on Monday. The TV crew thought they had been attacked by a Ukrainian army checkpoint. But local forces told them later a “saboteur Russian reconnaissance squad” was to blame for the shooting.

Chief correspondent Stuart Ramsay was shot in the lower back, while videographer Richie Mockler was struck by two rounds into his body armor after their car stopped due to a burst tier. Despite being hit, Ramsay, Mockler and the rest of their crew managed to flee the scene. Both are now back in the UK. “Free press will not be intimidated or cowed by barbaric and indiscriminate acts of violence,” Johnson tweeted in the wake of the incident.

The courage of the media workers was “astonishing,” he wrote, adding that they were “risking their lives to ensure that the truth is told.” 

The crew said they had managed to flee the shooting and hours later had been rescued by the Ukrainian police. “We didn’t know it at the time, but we were later told by the Ukrainians that we were being ambushed by a saboteur Russian reconnaissance squad. It was professional, the rounds kept smashing into the car – they didn’t miss,” Ramsay said. No other information about the attackers was made available.

Ramsay went even further, insisting that “thousands of Ukrainians are dying, and families are being targeted by Russian hit squads just as we were, driving along in a family saloon and attacked.” The journalist didn’t provide any proof to back the claim.

Russian troops were sent into Ukraine last Thursday to “denazify” and “demilitarize” the Kiev government, which – according to Moscow – is perpetrating “genocide” in the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. Ukraine has been denying those accusations, claiming that it was under an unprovoked attack by the neighbor.

Russia blamed the West for waging an “information war” against it amid the conflict and responded by blocking Facebook, Twitter and some foreign financed media outlets. The country also adopted a law that made deliberate spread of “fake news” about the Russian military punishable by up to 15 years in jail and a huge fine.The harsh legislation prompted the likes of the BBC, CNN, ABC News, CBS News, Bloomberg and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty to halt their operations in Russia and shut down their offices.