Russian journalist Rostislav Zhuravlev was killed and three others were wounded on Friday in an alleged cluster munitions strike. Zhuravlev and one other were a wartime correspondents for RIA Novosti, a state-owned Russian news agency. Two others were correspondents for Russian news agency, Izvestia. The attack took place in the Zaporizhzhia region of Ukraine. Zhuravlev died during evacuation, while the three injured are said to be in a stable condition.
The Russian government claims that the attack was carried out by Ukraine. Deputy Speaker of the Russian Federation Council, Konstantin Kosachev, wrote on his Telegram channel that “the use of cluster munitions is inhumane and should be excluded from combat practices.” He asserted that Ukraine and the United States must accept responsibility for this attack, since the latter is said to have supplied cluster munitions to Ukraine.
Cluster munitions are designed to target a larger area with submunitions, as opposed to a singular explosion at the site of contact. Their use has been criticized due to considerably high dud rates and their potential to harm civilians. The Convention on Cluster Munitions prohibits state parties from using, developing, or assisting in the use of cluster munitions. Russia, Ukraine and the United States are not parties to the Convention. The Investigative Committee of Russia announced through their Telegram channel that they will be investigating the use cluster munitions by Ukraine in the Belgorod village.
The Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to UNESCO informed news agencies on Sunday that Russia will demand UNESCO condemn the Zhuravley’s death. The head of the trade union of Turkish Journalists, Gymkhana Durmush, stated that the killing of journalists must be viewed as an attempt to “silence the media and hide the facts”.
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, fifteen journalists were killed in Russia and Ukraine, in 2022. Under Article 79 of Additional Protocol I of the Geneva Conventions, wartime journalists and other media professionals are to be treated as civilians, and accorded the same protection.