Photojournalists Attacked by Russian Ambush in Ukraine

A Sky News team has shared a harrowing account of their experience in Ukraine. After attempting to get back to the center of Kyiv, the group was ambushed by Russian soldiers and attacked, even after identifying as press.

In a detailed firsthand account, Sky News chief correspondent Stuart Ramsay describes the situation leading up to and the aftermath of the attack that targeted him, his team, and his camera operator Richie Mockler. The entire encounter paints a picture of a hectic and chaotic situation on the ground where areas swap between safe and dangerous in a matter of hours.

A Harrowing, Firsthand Account

The story starts with the team attempting to get to the town of Bucha, where a Russian convoy had been destroyed by the Ukrainian army the day prior. The team set out from Kyiv, and while Bucha is only about 30 kilometers outside of the city center, it took the journalists hours to get even close to the town.

After crossing multiple checkpoints and rerouting for the sake of safety, the team was turned away from their goal by a final Ukrainian checkpoint, as the soldiers cited that going further forward was not safe. The team turned around, but the route they had taken to get there had become unsafe in the few hours they had been on the road. They decided to cut down to the western portion of the city and re-enter from a different location.

They stopped at a checkpoint and spoke to soldiers and police, one of whom handed them ice cream through the windows of their car and directed them to go down a road into Kyiv that was open.

“We set off, but it was deadly quiet, and it’s fair to say we were concerned. But we traveled slowly forwards towards an intersection. There was rubble in the road, but that’s normal now. There were no soldiers, it all seemed deserted,” Ramsay says.

It did not stay that way.

Attacked Even After Identifying as Press

Out of nowhere, something hit the bottom of their car, blowing out a tire. They rolled to a stop and were met with a hail of gunfire. The group yelled out, identifying themselves as journalists, but the gunfire did not stop.

Ramsay was struck by a bullet in his lower back and was wounded. Mockler took two rounds to his body armor. Remarkably, all five managed to flee the car, roll down an embankment, and run to safety. After taking shelter in a local factory unit, they were able to remain in position until a Ukrainian police unit arrived later that night and evacuated them to safety.

“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,” Ramsay says.

“The point is we were very lucky. But thousands of Ukrainians are dying, and families are being targeted by Russian hit squads just as we were, driving along in a family saloon and attacked,” he says. “This war gets worse by the day.”

Ramsay’s full description of events can be read on Sky News.