Thursday, Aug 11, 2022
Outlook.com

Ukraine: Journalists Ambushed, Shot By Russian Fighters

Sky News Chief Correspondent Stuart Ramsay was injured in the attack and camera operator Richie Mockler was hit with two bullets but the body armour that he was wearing saved him, according to an account of the attack published by Ramsay. 

Representative Image of a Russian fighter
Representative Image of a Russian fighter Alexei Ivanov/Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP

A team of journalists from UK-based Sky News was ambushed and attacked earlier this week near the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv by Russian fighters. 

Chief Correspondent Stuart Ramsay was injured in the attack and camera operator Richie Mockler was hit with two bullets but the body armour that he was wearing saved him, according to an account of the attack published by Ramsay. 

The team was headed to the town of Bucha, around 30 kilometres from Kyiv, to report on a Russian military convoy that had been destroyed by the Ukrainian military a day before. However, they cancelled the assignment and decided to return to Kyiv when they assessed it was not safe to proceed. 

Rather than being a quiet countryside that they had expected it to be, the region was a proper battlefield, wrote Ramsay. 

He added, “On our way, in the distance, we could see Russian helicopter gunships criss-crossing in the air, noses dipping towards the ground as they opened fire.”

The roads they had taken to get there were no longer safe, so they decided to reach Kyiv from a different route. Guided by soldiers at a checkpoint, they were travelling to Kyiv when they were hit by an explosion out of nowhere.

First, the tyres were hit. Then the windscreen. Bullets were hitting the car continuously. 

Ramsay wrote, “Producer Martin Vowles, who was driving, got out of the car first, quickly followed by Andrii Lytvynenko, our local producer, leaving me, Richie, and my producer Dominique Van Heerden inside, taking cover in the footwells and across the backseat.”

Ramsay first believed that the shooters were Ukrainians and that the attack was a mistake. He shouted they were journalists but to no avail. Then he realised they had to escape. 

Dominique was the next to get out of the car. 

Ramsay was hit in the back when he was trying to get out of the car. Despite being hit, he managed to get his helmet on and retrieve his phones and press card. Then he got out of the car and ran for his life – like his colleagues. 

He wrote, “I lost my balance and fell to the bottom, landing like a sack of potatoes, cutting my face. My armour and helmet almost certainly saved me.” 

Ramsay’s colleagues Richie was the last to get out of the car. Together, they regrouped in a ditch of sorts that was off the road on which they were ambushed. From there, they ran to a factory that they spotted at some distance. There they were taken in by its caretakers. 

Once inside the factory, they called their colleagues at Sky News and were told to wait until morning for evacuation. Eventually, they were rescued by Ukrainian police. 

The Sky News team was later informed that they were likely attacked by what the Ukrainians called a “saboteur Russian reconnaissance squad”. The Western press has previously reported that hundreds of Russian mercenaries have infiltrated into Kyiv for sabotage purposes. 

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