WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) today introduced a resolution expressing the United States’ gratitude for journalists and news staff risking injury and death to report on the ongoing war in Ukraine resulting from Russian Dictator Vladimir Putin’s invasion. The resolution also condemns Putin, Belarus Dictator Lukashenko, and their officials for carrying out attacks on innocent civilians, which is a war crime.
“We are thankful for those in the free press who risk their lives to show the world the truth of what is happening in Ukraine,” said Dr. Cassidy. “The world must know the atrocities Putin is directing the Russian army to commit.”
“Journalists deserve our gratitude for bravely and tirelessly covering Putin’s unprovoked war, risking their lives to do so,” said Senator Klobuchar. “The free press has played a critical role in exposing Putin’s brutality and combating the lies being spread by the Kremlin. Today and every day, standing up for democracy means standing up for a free press.”
Putin’s war has killed numerous members of the free press, including two American journalists, in one month of war.
Read the full resolution here or below.
Whereas Ukraine declared independence from the Soviet Union on August 24, 1991, and that independence was reaffirmed in a popular referendum on December 1, 1991.
Whereas, on February 24, 2022, the Russian military invaded the sovereign country of Ukraine under the direction of President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin (referred to in this preamble as “Putin”), carrying out attacks on cities with ballistic missiles, heavy artillery, and tanks;
Whereas Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions includes the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts, prohibiting attacks on civilian persons and populations, and defines journalists and war correspondents as civilians;
Whereas the Russian Federation was an original signatory to the Geneva Conventions until Putin removed the Russian Federation from Protocol in October 2019, demonstrating a clear disregard for innocent life;
Whereas, as of March 29, 2022, thousands of civilians, including children, are recorded as having been killed during the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine;
Whereas journalists and news staff are on the ground in Ukraine, reporting freelance, reporting for global networks and media, and working on documentary efforts to record the ongoing humanitarian crisis and war caused by the Russian Federation’s invasion of the sovereign country of Ukraine;
Whereas many of the journalists and news staff covering the war in Ukraine are United States citizens or working for United States news agencies;
Whereas shelling by Russian Federation forces has included the shelling of humanitarian corridors, maternity hospitals, schools, and other primarily civilian locations;
Whereas journalists and news staff are on the ground along Russian-targeted humanitarian corridors and in major cities across Ukraine;
Whereas dozens of members of the free press have been murdered or injured by Russian Federation forces as of March 29, 2022, with more casualties and injuries likely;
Whereas, on February 26, 2022, Danish journalist Stefan Weichert was shot and wounded while reporting near Okhtyrka, Ukraine;
Whereas, on February 26, 2022, Danish journalist Emil Filtenborg was shot and wounded while reporting near Okhtyrka, Ukraine;
Whereas, on February 28, 2022, British Sky News chief correspondent Stuart Ramsay was shot and wounded when his car was ambushed by Russian soldiers in Kyiv, Ukraine;
Whereas, on February 28, 2022, British Sky News camera operator Richie Mockler was shot and wounded when his car was ambushed by Russian soldiers in Kyiv, Ukraine;
Whereas, on March 1, 2022, Ukrainian-based journalist and camera operator Yevhenii Sakun was killed when Russian Federation forces shelled a television tower in Kyiv, Ukraine;
Whereas, on March 6, 2022, Swiss journalist Guillaume Briquet was wounded and robbed by Russia soldiers who shot at his car on the road to Mykolaiv, Ukraine;
Whereas, on March 13, 2022, United States documentarian and film director Brent Renaud was shot in Irpin, Ukraine, and later died of his wounds;
Whereas, on March 13, 2022, United States journalist Juan Arredondo was shot and wounded while reporting in Irpin, Ukraine;
Whereas, on March 15, 2022, Ukrainian Fox News journalist Oleksandra Sasha Kuvshinova was killed in Horenka, Ukraine, when her vehicle was struck by incoming arms fire;
Whereas, on March 15, 2022, Irish Fox News cameraman and photographer Pierre Zakrzewski was killed in Horenka, Ukraine, when his vehicle was struck by incoming arms fire;
Whereas, on March 15, 2022, United States Fox News correspondent Benjamin Hall was wounded when his vehicle was struck by incoming arms fire in Horenka, Ukraine;
Whereas it is possible that additional Ukrainian and foreign press have been or will be injured and killed so long as Russian Federation forces continue their brutal attack on civilians;
Whereas all civilians, including journalists and news staff, should be spared violence by military forces;
Whereas Putin and his cronies have demonstrated complete disregard for innocent life, the sovereignty of Ukraine, the right to free speech, and the rights and value of a free press;
Whereas Putin is engaged in a propaganda war, as well as a military war, and the Russian Federation continues to push a false narrative about Russian military presence in Ukraine;
Whereas the United States supports a free and fair press and rejects any and all propagandist efforts by the Russian Federation to cover up and hide the truth behind the Russian Federation’s invasion;
Whereas journalists and news staff on the ground in Ukraine who are reporting the truth to the world, including journalists and news staff from the United States, are instrumental in combating false propaganda pushed by Putin and his cronies; and
Whereas, despite the overwhelming threat and risk to their lives and the sacrifices already made, journalists and news staff continue to report bravely from Ukraine: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the Senate—
(1) declares its gratitude on behalf of the people of the United States to the journalists and news staff who continue to put themselves in harm’s way to report on the humanitarian crisis and ongoing war on the ground in Ukraine following the Russian Federation’s invasion;
(2) remembers the journalists and news staff who have lost their lives or have been severely injured reporting from Ukraine and conveys the sympathies and appreciation of the people of the United States to their families for their sacrifice;
(3) condemns President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, President of the Republic of Belarus Aleksander Lukashenko, and their officials for authorizing and executing attacks on innocent Ukrainian civilians, residential areas, and humanitarian corridors, resulting in the loss of life of civilians, including journalists and news staff; and
(4) honors the contributions of journalists and news staff reporting from the war in Ukraine as essential in the ongoing struggle for the rights of a free press and free speech internationally, pivotal in pushing back against false propaganda by tyrants, and crucial to informing the people of the United States and the world of the horrors being wrought against the Ukrainian people.