After years of chilling from safe zones to avoid having their heads chopped off by ISIS, war journalists are back in the game in Ukraine where they’re out and about, not embedded with soldiers providing security as they file reports from the kill zones.
Last week, a Sky News team ventured a little too far into the war zone and nearly paid the ultimate price after Putin’s goon squad reportedly opened fire on them as cameras were rolling.
Sky News chief correspondent Stuart Ramsay documented the news crew’s ordeal in a post where he explains what the team was up to and how they survived the assault.
“We set off cautiously for the town of Bucha, where a Russian convoy had been destroyed by the Ukrainian army the previous day,” Ramsay wrote. “Trusted contacts in the town told us it was quiet and promised to show us the convoy and tell us about what had happened.”
Bucha sits just northwest of Kyiv and is pretty much the front line to Russia’s advance into the city.
“Constant checkpoints need to be negotiated with care,” Ramsay continued. “The tension is palpable, the fighters are jumpy, and it’s all exacerbated by the constant distant sounds of machine gun fire and crump of artillery and mortars.”
Soon, they were turned around by checkpoints and told by a Ukrainian police officer, who handed them ice cream, to head down a road that would get them back to Kyiv.
Then this happened.
Ramsay reports that he was told by Ukrainians that they had been ambushed by a Russian reconnaissance squad and that it wasn’t conscripts peppering their car with rounds. These were professionals who kept pumping lead into the car.
You’ll notice in the video that Ramsay and the crew keep yelling that they’re “journalists.” They believed it was Ukrainians shooting at the car.
Ramsay was hit by a round as the crew tried to get out of the car and over a 40-foot embankment where they ran to a workshop for cover. It was there that the team figured they would be attacked by the Russian goons who would finish them off.
Eventually, Ukrainian police came to the rescue and extracted the Sky News Big Js from the workshop and rushed them to safety in Kyiv.
Ramsay wrote Sunday that he and his team are “home and I’m recovering well.” It’s unclear if home means he’s returned to the UK. One would hope so. There’s no more need for Ramsay or his squad of Big Js to stay in Ukraine any longer. Folks, they have their footage.
Look, here’s the deal about what we’re seeing. It’s friggin’ WAR. It’s not like Big Js haven’t died in war before. Some choose to get that award-winning footage and pay the price. There’s no way a Big J should be shocked that a car loaded with Big Js came under fire. The Russian goon squads don’t get roster sheets on which random beat-up car is loaded with Big Js.
And I don’t care if you think it’s Ukrainians blasting that car, there’s a very high likelihood nobody can hear you yelling “journalists” from the bottom of that beater.
Pick your war reporting locations very carefully.