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11 Sep, 2023 08:42

Reuters faces probe in Ukraine

The news agency published images showing the launch of an interceptor missile from a residential area
Reuters faces probe in Ukraine

The Reuters news agency will be investigated in Ukraine for publishing photos showing anti-aircraft defenses in action over Kiev, air force spokesman Yury Ignat has said.

Photos published by the agency on Sunday appeared to show Ukrainian anti-aircraft forces engaging targets in the vicinity of the capital. One image showed an explosion in the night sky and the trace of a missile coming from a residential area. The series was shot by Reuters photographer Gleb Garanich, who is based in Kiev.

“I have not had the opportunity to study [the images], but in the end, the people whose job is dealing with such things, shall deal with them,” Ignat was quoted by the Strana.ua news outlet as saying on Sunday. Ignat’s military branch is responsible for air defense.

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky imposed a strict ban on reporting and publishing certain images related to the hostilities, shortly after the latest conflict with Russia began, including those of air defense interceptions and targeted locations. Violators can face up to 12 years in prison under Ukrainian law.

Multiple journalists have also complained of brutal treatment and expulsion from Ukraine by the country’s secret services for their coverage of incidents in a manner that breached strict reporting rules.

In late May, Ukraine’s SBU security service reported charging four female “bloggers” for sharing online images of anti-aircraft fire over Kiev. They pleaded guilty and were sentenced in August to suspended five-year sentences.

In June, the SBU said it had targeted over 200 people for violating the ban, with 190 cases proceeding trial. It claimed that most of those prosecuted had intended to undermine Ukraine’s war effort by sharing images with the Russian military.

The Defense Ministry in Moscow has yet to comment on Ukrainian claims that Russian drones were shot down over Kiev at the weekend. Moscow previously reported the launch of attacks on military targets in the Ukrainian capital.

Russia has frequently warned that the Ukrainian military is endangering civilians by placing anti-aircraft launchers in residential areas. Ignat has claimed that the air force was forced to deploy assets inside cities as it did not have enough weapons systems to protect them.