Ukraine is a conflict in need of coverage – but it is not that simple to gain access anymore

Ukraine is in need of journalists but the army is not that willing to let them in

Ukraine’s war wounds rarely echo through the news and a likely answer to this is the slightly confusing routes for entry into the zones of conflict. Once you have applied for and obtained an ATO press card there are further instructions you are required to follow and they are not listed to applicants upon receipt of it.

Once you get a press card you then need to plan your route through a supporting battalion who will allow access to their brigade. If you find one, you will then need permission for a route through the Ukraine government who will then correlate with the outpost you have agreed to see.

donbass_house_shelling

To ascertain with accuracy the nature of the Donbass war, like all conflicts it is necessary to gain access by embedding with a battalion/regiment to follow their activities. This type of access can be crucial in probing for material. When access becomes difficult (like it is in Ukraine right now) journalists will be put off.

Ukrainians ask why the world does not care, but they do. Lack of press has been caused by a distaste from within the army for news gatherers which is putting the future of the war and its outcome at stake. Whether Ukrainians like it or not, entry for journalists is part of that and the sighing I have witnessed from many soldiers and the occasional ‘Uh, journalists’ comment will not help their cause to put the record straight and counter propagandist narratives from opposition news.

The last time I was in Ukraine, a volunteer I travelled with (more than 6 hours from the city of Kharkiv) was barred from entering the company he was delivering supplies to on a regular basis, simply because he was travelling with me.

Ukraine is a wonderful country I have come to grow fond of and I see it as a second home. But it is saddening to know of the growing restrictions being placed upon not just journalists, but volunteer grassroots programmes organised by Ukrainian citizens to help the army equip and stock for better supplies.

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