YEREVAN, Armenia — The United Nations’ cultural agency said on Thursday that it was sending body armor and helmets to Ukraine to help protect Ukrainian journalists, many of whom have gone from covering local news to suddenly becoming war correspondents.
At least four journalists, including a Ukrainian, have been killed covering the fighting since Russia began its invasion last month.
“Every day, journalists and media workers are risking their lives in Ukraine to provide lifesaving information to local populations and inform us of the reality of this war,” Audrey Azoulay, the director-general of the agency, UNESCO, said in a statement released from Paris.
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The body armor was part of emergency measures adopted by the agency to protect journalists in Ukraine and help displaced journalists continue their work. A UNESCO diplomat said it was the first time in any conflict that the U.N. agency had sent body armor to journalists.
UNESCO said it would send an initial 125 sets of ballistic vests and helmets to Ukraine, where it noted that thousands of journalists, including many Ukrainians, were without war zone training or protective equipment and unprepared for the risks they were facing.
It said it was organizing online courses on hostile-environment and first-aid training and was helping to establish in-person training in Lviv. UNESCO also said it was funding a hotline for journalists who need help evacuating danger zones and helping to relocate the offices of two Ukrainian journalists’ unions to neighboring Poland.
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On Monday, a Ukrainian journalist and an Irish cameraman were killed in shelling near Kyiv while reporting for Fox News a day after an American filmmaker was fatally shot in a suburb of the capital. Early this month, a Ukrainian television cameraman was among five people killed when Russian forces shelled a television tower in Kyiv.