Russia Ukraine conflict

UN agency to supply Ukraine journalists with protective gear, first aid training

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The United Nations’ cultural agency said Thursday it would provide bulletproof vests and helmets to journalists working in Ukraine after the deaths of several reporters covering Russia’s invasion.

UNESCO will also organize online training courses for working in combat zones and first aid. It is also trying to provide in-person training soon for journalists in Lviv, the western city where many media organizations have moved as the capital Kyiv is besieged.

“Journalists and media workers are risking their lives in Ukraine to provide life-saving information to local populations and inform the world of the reality of this war,” UNESCO chief Audrey Azoulay said in a statement.

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An initial batch of 125 vests and helmets will be distributed in particular to Ukrainian journalists “who previously reported on local issues and have been thrust into the role of war correspondents, unprepared for the risks they now face,” the agency said.

It said at least four journalists have been killed since the invasion began three weeks ago, including a Fox News cameraman and the Ukrainian fixer helping his team.

The American documentary film maker Brent Renaud and Ukrainian reporter Evgeny Sakun have also been killed, prompting protests from media groups that say Russian forces are failing to protect war reporters as required under international law.

UNESCO also said it would provide funds for a hotline set up by Ukraine’s national journalists’ union that reporters can call for help evacuating a danger zone.

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