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DW cameraman injured in Russian attack on Ukrainian army

July 22, 2023

The Russian military has shelled a Ukrainian army training ground in Donbas, killing one soldier, according to Ukrainian sources. A team of DW reporters also came under fire during the attack.

Ukrainian soldiers reload as they undergo intensive training near the Donbas front amid ongoing Russia-Ukraine war
The DW team was at a Ukrainian training ground about 23 kilometers (14 miles) from the front lineImage: Gian Marco Benedetto/AA/picture alliance

A Ukrainian soldier was killed and several others were wounded in a Russian attack which also saw a DW cameraman injured by shrapnel on Saturday.

The apparent cluster bomb attack targeted the Ukrainian army training ground in Donbas, some 23 kilometers (14 miles) away from the frontline, according to the statement by the German broadcaster.

DW's Ievgen Shylko was part of a team sent to report from the training ground near the town of Druzhkivka when they came under Russian artillery fire.

"We were filming the Ukrainian army during target practice when suddenly we heard several explosions," DW correspondent Mathias Bölinger said.

"We lay down, more explosions followed, we saw people were wounded," he added.

Shylko was injured when a piece of shrapnel hit him. He is being treated in a Ukrainian hospital and is in stable condition.

Journalists 'risk their lives' reporting from Ukraine — DW chief

"Later, the Ukrainian army confirmed that we had been fired at with cluster munitions," Bölinger said.

He and a security advisor survived the attack unharmed.

"I am very relieved that Ievgen Shylko's life is not in danger and wish him a fast recovery," DW Director-General Peter Limbourg said.

According to figures from the Committee to Protect Journalists, at least 15 journalists and media workers have been killed in Ukraine since Russia launched the invasion on February 24, 2022.

"Journalists risk their lives every day to report on the Russian war of aggression — they deserve my utmost respect and thanks. Despite all the safety precautions taken and the distance from the Russian front, the work of our colleagues in the war zone remains dangerous," Limbourg said.

Ukrainian soldiers shelled at Donetsk training camp

What are cluster munitions?

Cluster munitions can be dropped from airplanes or fired from howitzers, artillery guns and rocket launchers.

They contain hundreds of smaller submunitions, known as "bomblets", that fall indiscriminately over wide areas ranging from a few soccer fields to several hectares of land.

They are banned by more than 100 states due to their threat to civilians but are used by both sides in the Russia-Ukraine war.