AP published an absolutely riveting firsthand account of the escape of two of the press service’s journalists from the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, which Russians have surrounded and relentlessly bombed for weeks. If you’ve followed the coverage of the war, you’ve likely seen the men’s work: they’ve published some of the most harrowing video and haunting photos of the carnage. Some of their work was featured in President Zelensky’s video montage when he addressed the U.S. Congress last week.
The men, video journalist Mstyslav Chernov and photographer Evgeniy Maloletkawho, say they were the last international journalists in the city. Ukrainian authorities told them they were being hunted by Russian soldiers, who were allegedly going to capture them and force them to retract their reporting on camera at gunpoint. Ukrainian soldiers helped them escape:
Suddenly at dawn, a dozen soldiers burst in: “Where are the journalists, for fuck’s sake?”
I looked at their armbands, blue for Ukraine, and tried to calculate the odds that they were Russians in disguise. I stepped forward to identify myself. “We’re here to get you out,” they said.
The walls of the surgery shook from artillery and machine gun fire outside, and it seemed safer to stay inside. But the Ukrainian soldiers were under orders to take us with them.
Go read the whole thing if you can. Saw this on Twitter somewhere: First they came for the journalists, and no one knows what happened after that.
I don’t know much about the Geneva Conventions and International Criminal Court, but I’m pretty sure targeting journalists to stop the world from documenting your war crimes is…a war crime — or should be.