NUJ condemns killing of journalists Pierre Zakrzewski and Oleksandra Kuvshynova in Ukraine

  • 16 Mar 2022

The National Union of Journalists has strongly condemned the killing of journalists Pierre Zakrzewski (55) and Oleksandra Kuvshynova (24) in Ukraine on Monday evening. News of the deaths was confirmed on Tuesday evening.

The two were killed outside Kyiv when their vehicle was struck by incoming fire in Horenk, on the outskirts of the capital. A third journalist, Benjamin Hall, was seriously injured in the attack. All three had been working for Fox News. Pierre Zakrzewski was an Irish citizen who had been living in London for a number of years. Extending sympathy to the families of the two journalists Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said "the targeting of journalists was a fundamental breach of international law."

She said:

“Russia has shown a disturbing contempt for human rights from the outset of the invasion of Ukraine. We extend solidarity to all who have suffered as a result of this invasion.

“Attacks on journalists are an attack on democracy, designed to silence those who are bringing the unfolding story of Ukraine to the global community.”

Born in August 1966, Mr Zakrzewski was the second-eldest of six children: four boys and two girls. His mother was French and his father was Polish, and the family lived in Leopardstown, Co Dublin. He attended St Conleth’s College, Ballbridge and studied arts in UCD. His mother and two brothers continue to live in Dublin.

The NUJ’s Irish Executive Council has called on Irish members to make a donation to the International Federation of Journalists International Safety Fund in his memory.

Séamus Dooley, Assistant General Secretary said:

“Pierre displayed courage, commitment and a fearless determination to journalism. His family came to Ireland 55 years ago and Pierre was proud of his Irish identity and his multicultural background

“He covered war in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria and colleagues have commented on his generosity of spirit and passion as a storyteller. He enjoyed confounding authorities wherever he went by producing his Irish passport when his Irish citizenship was challenged.”

Donations may be made using this donation link. Further detail on the IFJ Ukraine safety fund can be accessed here.

In extending sympathy to his wife Michelle, mother Marie-Ange and the Zakrzewski family, Séamus Dooley called for donations in Pierre’s memory to be made to the IFJ Safety Fund. He said: “Pierre’s work as an international journalist exemplified the courage of war reporters and is a reminder of the risks taken by so many media workers covering conflicts."

President Michael D Higgins paid tribute, offering his “deepest sympathies” to the family of Mr Zakrzewski and to the International Federation of Journalists on the death of a journalistic colleague.

“The indiscriminate killing of civilians, including journalists, must be brought to an end,” Mr Higgins said in a statement.

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