More than 100 journalists victims of Russian crimes during two years of covering war in Ukraine

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has tallied all of the abuses, including deadly gunfire, arrests and disappearances, to which Ukrainian and foreign journalists have been subjected by Russian forces during two years of courageous reporting in Ukraine since Russia launched its invasion on 24 February 2022.


Thousands of Ukrainian and accredited international journalists have continued to cover the war since February 2022 despite a degraded security environment throughout the country, as a result of targeted fire or indiscriminate bombardment by the Russian armed forces. According to RSF, more than a hundred journalists have been victims of violence in the past two years. Among them, 11 reporters have lost their lives during their work. Others have been the victims of bombardments on their editorial offices, and some have been injured or have disappeared. In the Ukrainian territories occupied by Russia, local independent voices have been reduced to nothing, forced to cease all activity.


“The media have been the direct victims of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In 2023, as in 2022, journalists have unfortunately paid with their lives for their reporting in the field, while others have been wounded or imprisoned by the Russian occupation forces, or have disappeared. We pay tribute to the courage of these professionals, who continue to cover the war, and we demand that the perpetrators of the crimes against them be brought to justice.

Jeanne Cavelier
Head of RSF’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk

  11 journalists killed

Two journalists have been killed while reporting near the front line in Ukraine in 2023, following the nine killed the year before. Arman Soldin, a journalist with French and Bosnian dual nationality working for Agence France-Presse, was killed in a hail of rocket-fire on 9 May while covering the situation near Bakhmut, in the Donetsk region. Two weeks before that, Ukrainian journalist and fixer Bohdan Bitik was fatally shot by a Russian sniper while accompanying an Italian reporter for the newspaper La Repubblica near the southeastern city of Kherson.

  At least 35 journalists wounded

Since February 2022, 35 Ukrainian and foreign reporters have been wounded while reporting in the field, especially near the front. They were either the targets of deliberate gunfire or were the victims of attacks on TV towers, media outlets – recently in Kyiv and Kharkiv – or places frequented by civilians and journalists, including two hotels in Kharkiv in January.

  At least 12 journalists detained

In the occupied Ukrainian territories, Russia hunts down journalists who refuse to collaborate. In two years, at least 12 local journalists have been detained by the Russian occupying forces, and some have been sentenced. The persecution of independent journalists has also intensified in Crimea. Iryna Danilovych, a Crimea-based freelance journalist reporting for several local media outlets, was abducted by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) in April 2022 and was transferred to a prison in Russia in July 2023. In the occupied city of Melitopol, in southeastern Ukraine, several journalists working for a Telegram news channel operated by the Ukrainian news site RIA-Melitopol were arrested in August 2023 for “spying” and have been imprisoned ever since.

   2 journalists currently missing

Two Ukrainian journalists are currently missing in Russia. There has been no news of Victoria Roshchyna, a freelancer working for the Ukrainska Pravda news site, since 4 August 2023, when she was heading to the occupied territories via Russia. She was previously abducted and held by Russian forces for several days in March 2022 while reporting in the occupied city of Melitopol for the independent Ukrainian news site Hromadske. According to an RSF investigation, Dmytro Khyliuk, a journalist with the Ukrainian online news agency Unian is the victim of an enforced disappearance. RSF was able to prove that he was alive, that he had been arrested by Russian forces and detained in Russia. 

  RSF has filed 18 war crimes complaints

In two years, RSF has filed eight war crimes complaints simultaneously with the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the Ukrainian Prosecutor General, as well as two complaints with the French courts. As part of these complaints, RSF has documented more than 50 attacks on more than 100 journalists, who have been killed, injured, kidnapped, taken hostage, tortured or caught up in bombings.

  233 media closed

As a result of the Russian occupation, the advertising market’s collapse, a lack of personnel due to media personnel being mobilised, and the destruction of equipment and resources in bombardments, a total of 233 Ukrainian media outlets have had to close since 24 February 2022, according to the Institute of Mass Information (IMI), RSF’s local partner. They include Sho, the national online literary magazine, which had to close for economic reasons.


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