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08.03.2014

Another bloody evening for journalists covering the Crimea

   

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Russian journalist Pavel Nikulin

Ukrainian journalists are reported to have been brutally beaten during the seizure by Russian soldiers of a Ukrainian military unit on Friday evening, while in Simferopol STB journalists were attacked during a live news broadcast.

Budzhurova, head of the Crimean Association of Free Journalists stated on the Savik Shuster talk show on Friday that she had received two calls from Olena Myekhanik, a journalist from TV Inter.  Myekhanik first told her that the Ukrainian military unit was under attack, that a KAMAZ truck had rammed the gates and 12 individuals had crossed onto the unit’s land.  She asked for a journalist team from TV ATR to be sent.  Later she rang in distress saying that the Ukrainian journalists present, including women, had been assaulted, and their video recorders smashed.  The journalists were all at Unit 2355 where there is an air force command point in charge of overseeing air safety.  The journalists also included a TV STB firlm crew and a Georgian national.  

Telekritika was able to confirm that Olena Myekhanik, together with another Inter journalist, Andriy Tsapliyenko and two cameramen (identified only by last names: Lysenko and Dyedov) were in hospital, although Myekhanik was apparently not assaulted. Other reports mention that a Russian national, Pavel Nikulin (see the photo) was injured.  On his facebook page Dmytro Belotserkovets, aide to an UDAR MP and party activist accuses former Berkut riot police of being behind what he calls an attempted purge of the media.

Meanwhile in Simferopol two members of a vigilante unit  attacked an STB film crew during a live news broadcast. One of the journalists, Oleksiy Simakov told Telekritika that they were preparing for the 22.00 Vikna [Windows] news programme.  Their first broadcast went fine, however then Simakov received a call from Sevastopol telling him that the military unit had been attacked by Russian military.  He decided to report this in the next broadcast.  A minute before that was to begin, a Honda car drove up with these thugs in camouflage gear.  They asked what the channel was and after being told STB stood behind the cameramen and waited for the broadcast.

Simakov began explaining that Russian soldiers were storming a military unit in Sevastopol and that “Cossacks” were beating up journalists, including foreign nationals.  At that point the thugs started trying to pull their equipment away.  Simakov says that they did not directly beat up any of the film crew, though there was a moment where he believed this imminent and managed to get the assailants talking.  One of them claimed that all of the journalists are lying, and said that Channel 5 and 1 + 1 had already received their come-uppance* and that they would throw all journalists out.    

See: All-out attack on press freedom in the Crimea

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