Belsat TV journalists severely beaten by Berkut

A journalist Yuras Wysocki and a cameraman Siarhei Marchyk were battered while filming a violent dispersal of Ukrainian activists in Cherkasy (central Ukraine), their equipment and footage seized. One was diagnosed with brain concussion and spent a night at a police station, the other got head injuries trying to protect a TV camera. Neither Ukrainian nor Belarusian authorities reacted.

The crew was covering protest actions and mass media work in Ukraine. They were about to interview Tetiana Chornovol, a prominent Ukrainian journalist, when Berkut started attacking protesters.

A dozen or even a hundred of Berkut soldiers came running and started beating people. They were intentionally seeking journalists to give us a lesson. It was clear they wanted to destroy the equipment and footage. No one was speared. We saw them shooting rubber bullets at an elderly man, from a one-meter distance,’ Siarhei Marchyk said.

Please turn English subs on:

{movie}Belsat journalist about Berkut’s acting in Cherkasy: Firing rubber bullets in old and young (English subs)|right|14485{/movie}

When Marchyk was taken to the first-aid post, doctors were busy sewing up wounds of 18 people. ‘Four persons were in critical condition, a nurse told me. I’ve got 11 stitches and bruises all over. Yuras’ has his nose and eye injured,’ our journalist told Belsat TV over the phone.

Trying to save the equipment, Yuras Wysocki went to a police department. They kept him there all night, but their belongings were not given back. Eventually Yuras managed to escape (English subs):

(English subs):

{movie}Belsat TV journalist Yuras Wysocki beaten by Berkut: I tried to save footage and equipment (English subs)|right|14491{/movie}

The attack was allegedly a reaction to an attempt to storm the building of the city council by the unknown. On his Facebook an activist Mikalai Liakhovich says:

‘When guests [from Kyiv] were getting out of their cars a dozen of local hooligans [titushki], disguised as local activists went on the rampage at Cherkasy City Council … Several minutes later they were ordered to disappear. As soon as titushki managed to hide, Berkut popped up and started beating everybody on the square.

{movie}Berkut disperses Kyiv Automaidan participants in Cherkasy.|right|14487{/movie}

Our journalists were accredited as employees of Polish television TVP, which Belsat TV is a structural unit of. At the moment they are in Kyiv.

{movie}Siarhei Marchyk: ‘I tried to protect our camera’ (English subs)|right|14509{/movie}

We would say that any journalist – no matter where they from, what they aim at – may be attacked at any moment by Berkut, police, titushki and other black forces of this country,‘ our journalist stresses.

No reaction from the Ukrainian or Belarusian authorities followed.

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