A Sky News journalist was wounded in a Russian ambush while reporting in Ukraine, with his camera operator taking two rounds to the body armor.
Sky News chief correspondent Stuart Ramsay and his team were near the capital city of Kyiv in a car on Monday when they came under sudden attack. Though they were not initially aware of who attacked them, Ramsay later came to discover, from the Ukrainians, that they were ambushed by a saboteur Russian reconnaissance squad.
“The first round cracked the windscreen. Camera operator Richie Mockler huddled into the front passenger footwell. Then we were under full attack. Bullets cascaded through the whole of the car, tracers, bullet flashes, windscreen glass, plastic seats, the steering wheel, and dashboard had disintegrated,” Ramsay wrote about the incident on Sky News.
Producer Martin Vowles and local producer Andrii Lytvynenko quickly got out of the car, while the rest of them remained inside, including Richie, Ramsay, and his producer Dominique Van Heerden.
Assuming they were being attacked by mistake, the team started screaming that they were journalists. However, the rounds “kept coming” and the incoming fire was “intense.” Out of the three remaining inside the car, Dominique got out first, reaching the bottom of an embankment.
Meanwhile, Ramsay got hit in the lower back. “It was strange, but I felt very calm. I managed to put my helmet on, and was about to attempt my escape, when I stopped and reached back into a shelf in the door and retrieved my phones and my press card, unbelievably.”
Ramsay then ran towards the embankment, getting his face cut while falling to the bottom. Richie soon followed. The team regrouped at the bottom and sprinted towards a factory where they were beckoned inside by three caretakers.
Ukrainian police eventually came to their rescue, with a police vehicle taking them away from the danger zone. A day later, the team got to the center of Kyiv.
Other journalists have also come under fire while reporting from areas of conflict. Earlier, two Danish reporters came under attack near the eastern Ukrainian town of Okhtyrka. Both suffered gunshot injuries despite bulletproof vests. They were taken to a hospital and were eventually evacuated from the country.
“As the scale and brutality of the Russian war in Ukraine grows, it is becoming increasingly dangerous for journalists to cover the conflict safely,” Anthony Bellanger, the General Secretary of International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), said in a press release.
“We call on the international community and Unesco to do everything possible to secure the safety of journalists working on the ground.”