I’ve watched this and read the accompanying story and it really is amazing that all of these people got out alive.
The backstory here is that British broadcaster Sky News has people in Ukraine reporting on the war. For the most part they don’t seem to be trying to get close to actual battles but they are traveling around in a country where the battle lines are constantly in flux.
On Monday of this week, a group of Sky reporters made an effort to travel to a town outside Kyiv where a Russian convoy of vehicles had been destroyed. Their contacts told them the area was now quiet but the journey of less than 20 miles took hours because of frequent checkpoints and the need to sometimes take detours. Eventually they got to a checkpoint where they were warned there was fighting ahead and the road was not safe to travel. They decided to call it a day and instead head west back toward the then-safe parts of the city. But they almost didn’t survive their journey back.
There was rubble in the road, but that’s normal now. There were no soldiers, it all seemed deserted.
And then out of nowhere a small explosion and I saw something hit the car and a tyre burst. We rolled to a stop.
And then our world turned upside down.
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.
We didn’t know it at the time, but we were later told by the Ukrainians that we were being ambushed by a saboteur Russian reconnaissance squad. It was professional, the rounds kept smashing into the car – they didn’t miss.
At first they thought soldiers at a Ukrainian checkpoint had become confused. The reporters pinned down in the car started shouting that they were journalists. But the bullets just kept coming. They realized they needed to get out of the car and run for it if they wanted to survive.
Dominique pushed open her door a little further and slipped to the ground, crawling towards a motorway barrier and then dived down a 40-foot embankment, rolling to the bottom.
Richie was shouting to me, but I can’t really remember much.
I do recall wondering if my death was going to be painful.
And then I was hit in the lower back. “I’ve been hit!” I shouted.
The entire crew were wearing body armor with the word “Press” in bright white letters so, fortunately, when they were hit the bullets didn’t penetrate the armor. Again, they were incredibly lucky. After a jog along a concrete wall, they found an open gate to a machine shop. Three Ukrainian men working inside allowed them to enter. They spent hours trying to arrange for someone to come get them while the shooting continued outside. Eventually, the Kyiv police came to bring them to safety.
The ambush itself was caught on video by their cameraman Riche Mockler who was sitting in the front seat of the car when the shooting started. It’s an amazing report but I’d be willing to bet that he and everyone else in that car will be having nightmares about this experience for a long time to come.
Incredible bravery of these journalists from Sky News near the Ukraine capital of Kyiv as they are shot at. All manage to survive.
📸 : @SkyNews pic.twitter.com/lP7jm2X6gC
— Jon Morter (@JonMorter) March 4, 2022
Join the conversation as a VIP Member