A Ukrainian journalist working with reporters for La Repubblica has been shot dead by Russian snipers in southern Ukraine, while his Italian colleague was injured, the Italian newspaper said on Wednesday.
“Today, our correspondent Corrado Zunino and his fixer Bogdan Bitik were victims of an ambush near the bridge in Kherson by Russian snipers on the outskirts of Kherson, in southern Ukraine,” La Repubblica said.
“Bitik unfortunately did not make it and died: he leaves behind his wife and a son. Corrado, who was wounded in the shoulder, is in the civil hospital in Kherson,” it said.
Zunino, who had extensively covered the conflict, told La Repubblica he had been wearing a bulletproof vest with “press” written on it when the reporters were attacked.
“I’m well, I’ve got a wound in my right shoulder, shaved by the bullet that hit my great friend Bogdan,’’ he added. “I saw Bogdan on the ground, he wasn’t moving. I crawled until I got out of the line of fire. I ran until I came across a civilian’s car. I was covered in blood, I got myself taken to the hospital in Kherson.
“I tried several times to call Bogdan, he didn’t answer. He was a great friend of mine, the pain is excruciating.
“It’s difficult to recover Bitik’s body at the moment, due to the presence of snipers,” La Repubblica said.
The Italian foreign minister, Antonio Tajani, said his ministry and the Italian embassy in Kyiv were working with the Ukrainian authorities on returning Zunino to Italy.
At least 12 journalists and media workers have been killed in Ukraine since the beginning of the invasion and 18 injured, according to the International Federation of Journalists. Most of them were Ukrainian.
In May 2022, the French journalist Frédéric Leclerc-Imhoff, 32, was killed after an armoured evacuation vehicle in which he was travelling was hit by shrapnel from a Russian shell in the city of Sievierodonetsk in eastern Ukraine.
One week after the start of the war, Evgeni Sakun, a Ukrainian cameraman for the local TV channel Kyiv Live TV, was killed when a Russian missile was fired at the Kyiv television tower on 1 March.
About 10 days later, Brent Renaud, an award-winning American film-maker and journalist who had worked for a number of American news and media organizations in the past, including HBO, NBC and the New York Times, was killed while reporting in a suburb of Kyiv.