Reporter attacked by Russia in Kyiv breaks silence ‘Damn lucky to be here’

Ukraine: Russian soldier tells woman grave was 'to put you in'

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Benjamin Hall, for Fox News, was in Horenka, just outside Kyiv, Ukraine with producer Oleksandra Kuvshynova and cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski on March 14. During an attack from Russia, Oleksandra and Pierre died as “a result of artillery shelling by Russian troops in the north-eastern part of the village of Gorenka”, Ukrainian website kp.ua said.

Now, nearly a month after the attack, Mr Hall has broken his silence and paid tribute to his colleagues who died.

Mr Hall, 39, managed to survive the assault but lost half a leg and a foot, while one of his eyes is “no longer working”.

In a now-deleted Twitter post, Mr Hall said he felt “damn lucky” to have survived a shelling attack by Russian.

He said: “It’s been over three weeks since the attack in Ukraine and I wanted to start sharing it all.

“But first I need to pay tribute to my colleagues Pierre and Sasha who didn’t make it that day.

“Pierre and I travelled the world together, working was his joy and his joy was infectious. RIP.”

Sharing a picture of himself bandaged and wearing an eye-patch, Mr Hall added: “To sum it up, I’ve lost half a leg on one side and a foot on the other.

“One hand is being put together, one eye is no longer working, and my hearing is pretty blown… but all in all I feel pretty damn lucky to be here – and it is the people who got me here who are amazing.”

After the attack on March 14, Suzanne Scott, Fox News’ chief executive, said: “Pierre was killed in Horenka, outside of Kyiv, Ukraine.

“Pierre was with Benjamin Hall yesterday … when their vehicle was struck by incoming fire.

“Pierre was a war zone photographer who covered nearly every international story for Fox News from Iraq to Afghanistan to Syria during his long tenure with us.

“His passion and talent as a journalist were unmatched. Based in London, Pierre had been working in Ukraine since February.

“His talents were fast and there wasn’t a role that he didn’t jump in to help with in the field – from photographer to engineer to editor to producer – and he did it all under immense pressure with tremendous skill.”

Fox News did not initially mention Oleksandra’s death, but in a second statement later on Tuesday, said she had been working as a consultant for the channel.

It read: “She was incredibly talented and spent weeks working directly with our entire team, operating around the clock to make sure the world knew what was happening in her country.”

The statement also described Kuvshynova as “hard-working, funny, kind and brave. Her dream was to connect people around the world and tell their stories, and she fulfilled that through her journalism.”

The statement added: “We held off on delivering this devastating news earlier today out of respect for her family whom we have been in touch with throughout.”

On Thursday, the UK Government issued a statement from the Informal Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Group of Friends on Safety of Journalists which said “journalists in Ukraine are not safe from attacks by Russia’s army”.

Ambassador Veselin Šuković, Head of the Montenegrin delegation to the OSCE, said: “There are reports of at least 148 cases of journalists being targeted in the first month of the Russian invasion.

“As highlighted by the RFoM in her 24 March statement, there has been a growing number of reports on cases of disappearance and abduction of Ukrainian journalists and hostage taking of their relatives.

“There was the attack on a Sky News team, recorded on camera. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reported the case of a fixer for Radio France who was kidnapped by Russian soldiers and, during nine days of captivity, was beaten with an iron bar, subjected to electric shocks, and faced a mock execution.

“Mr Chair, we strongly condemn all attacks on journalists and media workers.”

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