War Correspondent Day in Ukraine Date in the current year: February 16, 2024

War Correspondent Day in Ukraine War Correspondent Day, also known as War Correspondents Remembrance Day, is observed in Ukraine annually on February 16. It was established in 2018 to raise awareness of the most dangerous form of journalism and honor the memory of Ukrainian war correspondents who died in the line of duty.

War correspondents are journalists who cover stories first-hand from conflict-ridden parts of the world. People have documented wars for thousands of years, but modern war journalism began to develop when printed newspapers became commonplace, i.e. around the 17th century. One of the first war correspondents was Henry Crabb Robinson, an English lawyer and diarist who covered the Peninsular War for The Times.

War journalism is considered the most dangerous form of journalism for a reason. Most war correspondents attempt to get as close to action as possible in order to provide accurate written accounts of the events, photos, or video footage. In general, war correspondents are considered civilians and protected by the Geneva Conventions under international law, but this doesn’t mean that they don’t risk their lives every minute they are in the war zone.

The history of Ukrainian War Correspondent Day can be traced back to the beginning of the Russo-Ukrainian War in 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea and supported pro-Russian separatists in the Donbas region of Ukraine. From the very first days of the anti-terrorist operation, as the War in Donbas was initially called in Ukraine, war correspondents worked in the conflict zone to let the world know what was happening. Thanks to them, the Russo-Ukrainian War is one of the most extensively covered military conflicts in history.

On February 16, 2015, Captain 3rd rank Dmytro Labutkin, editor of the Television and Radio Studio of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine “Breeze”, died during a combat mission near the city of Debaltseve in Donetsk Oblast (region). He was collecting photographic evidence for the negotiation group in Minsk and disappeared along with the reconnaissance group of the Armed Forces of Ukraine under the command of the captain of the 3rd Special Forces Regiment Yuri Butusov when a convoy with the wounded was shelled by Russian-backed separatists.

A month later, Labutkin’s death was confirmed after an examination of the bodies of Ukrainian servicemen found near a destroyed armored personnel carrier. Three years later, his death anniversary was designated as War Correspondent Day by the then-Minister of Defense of Ukraine Stepan Poltorak.

War Correspondent Day is the professional holiday of all Ukrainian war correspondents, press officers and public relations officers, as well as a remembrance day for dozens of war correspondents who died in the line of duty. In particular, at least 43 journalists died during the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine between February 24, 2022 and November 2022. 8 of them were killed on assignment (according to the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine), another 13 were civilian victims, and 22 died while serving in the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

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War Correspondent Day in Ukraine, War Correspondents Remembrance Day, holidays in Ukraine, remembrance days, professional days