International News Safety Institute

26 April 2023  |  The Guardian and news agencies

Bogdan Bitik


Ukrainian journalist killed by Russian snipers in ambush near Kherson

Cause of death



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.

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