Russians open fire on Sky News team in Ukraine
Sky News

The prime minister has praised British journalists in “terrifying and dangerous situations” after a correspondent was shot and wounded in an ambush near the Ukrainian capital.

Stuart Ramsay, chief correspondent at Sky News, was hit by a bullet in the lower back as bullets rained down on a car carrying his crew towards Kyiv on Monday.

Camera operator Richie Mockler was also hit with two rounds to his body armour before the team managed to escape and take cover. They were later rescued by Ukrainian police.

It is understood that the whole crew, including Sky News’ Dominique van Heerden and Martin Vowles, and local producer Andrii Lytvynenko, are now safe.

Sky News broadcast shocking footage of the incident on Friday evening, showing the team under heavy fire, with glass smashing around them.

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Responding to the report this morning, Boris Johnson wrote: “The courage of these journalists, putting themselves in terrifying and dangerous situations, is astonishing to watch.

“They’re risking their lives to ensure that the truth is told.

“Free press will not be intimidated or cowed by barbaric and indiscriminate acts of violence.”

Others also praised the bravery of the reporters.

Twitter user John Moore said: “How Stuart Ramsay and the Sky News team survived this ambush is remarkable. Thankfully they did. Incredibly brave journalism highlighting the very very real dangers of reporting from the frontline in Ukraine.”

Journalist Alex Jones tweeted: “Horrendous, and it shouldn’t ever have to happen, but this is incredible journalism. To go to these lengths to show the horrific nature of the war is incredible. Hope the injured reporter recovers soon and that Stuart Ramsay & his Sky team gain significant credit for this.”

Journalist Saima Mohsin wrote: “This brings home the horrors Ukrainians and all who live in war suffer & what journalists do to tell the truth.”

News and politics Twitter account Haggis UK wrote: “Stuart Ramsay & his team doing an absolutely heroic job to bring us the news from Ukraine. Thank you @ramsaysky”.

In a piece for Sky News published this morning, Ramsay said they were later told by Ukrainians that the ambush was from a saboteur Russian reconnaissance squad.

Ramsay explained that the team had been heading towards the town of Bucha to report on the destruction of a Russian convoy by the Ukrainian army. Although their destination was only 30km from Kyiv, Ramsay said the trip took hours, with the crew held up by road closures and redirections.

It was suggested at the last Ukrainian checkpoint that they should not proceed any further, and the team decided to head back to the city centre, re-entering from a different direction to avoid what they now knew to be dangerous routes.

As they attempted to make their way back to Kyiv, “a small explosion” occured “out of nowhere” and he saw something hit the car.

“Then our world turned upside down,” he wrote.

He continued: “The first round cracked the windscreen. Camera operator Richie Mockler huddled into the front passenger footwell. Then we were under full attack.

“Bullets cascaded through the whole of the car, tracers, bullet flashes, windscreen glass, plastic seats, the steering wheel, and dashboard had disintegrated.”

The team luckily managed to escape and take cover in a nearby factory unit, but not before Ramsay was hit by a bullet in the lower back.

“The point is we were very lucky,” Ramsay said.

“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.

“This war gets worse by the day.”

The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable, and we first ran our Refugees Welcome campaign during the war in Syria in 2015. Now, as we renew our campaign and launch this petition in the wake of the unfolding Ukrainian crisis, we are calling on the government to go further and faster to ensure help is delivered. To find out more about our Refugees Welcome campaign, click here. To sign the petition click here. If you would like to donate then please click here for our GoFundMe page.

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