Russians Ambush Journalists' Car, Shoot Reporter, Photographer Near Kyiv

Video footage captured the terror of a Sky News reporter and his photographer as they were fired upon and struck by Russian bullets near Kyiv.

Stuart Ramsay, correspondent with the British television network, on Friday published his account along with video footage of the chilling incident. Ramsay said he and his crew were "lucky" after he and camera operator Richie Mockler were not seriously injured. But the incident signals that the conflict is becoming potentially more lethal as civilians and now journalists are in harm's way.

Ramsay said in his narrative that the incident began Monday when he and his four team members set out for the town of Bucha, outside of Ukraine's besieged capital city Kyiv. The crew was there to report on a defeated Russian convoy, but decided to head back after a Ukrainian checkpoint suggested they go no farther.

The crew had to take a different route back into Kyiv and were directed toward an open road by a police officer who handed them ice cream, Ramsay said.

Destroyed Buildings in Ukraine
A Sky News reporter and his photographer were fired upon and struck by Russian bullets near Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine. Above, destroyed buildings are seen on March 3, 2022, in Irpin, Ukraine. Chris McGrath/Getty Images

"There was rubble in the road, but that's normal now," Ramsay wrote. "There were no soldiers, it all seemed deserted. And then out of nowhere a small explosion and I saw something hit the car and a tyre burst. We rolled to a stop. And then our world turned upside down."

The first round cracked the car's windscreen, Ramsay said, as "bullets cascaded" through the vehicle. The news crew was later told they had been ambushed by a saboteur Russian reconnaissance squad.

The crew's producer, Martin Vowles, who was driving, fled the car first, followed by local producer Andrii Lytvynenk, according to Ramsay.

Still in the car with Mockler and producer Dominique Van Heerden, Ramsay recalled how he thought they were mistakenly being targeted by the Ukrainian army.

He said they started shouting that they were journalists, to no avail. The team members remaining in the car realized they'd have to flee to survive.

"I do recall wondering if my death was going to be painful," wrote Ramsay.

While still in the car, Ramsay said he was hit in the lower back. Despite being struck, Ramsay recalled that the pain was akin to being punched, and he had the presence of mind to put on his helmet and retrieved his phones and press card before fleeing.

After the five regrouped, they found refuge in a factory where they called for help.

"It's often like this in hairy situations—you survive the first part and get to safety, and then it all starts going downhill again," he wrote. "And you are tired, exhausted really, and the adrenaline subsides, and you feel down and beaten."

The news team spent an anxious night in a small office in the factory. That morning they heard the sound of heavy boots and shouting in the stairwell followed by "Ukrainian police, come quickly!"

Ramsay wrote that while his crew found safety, "thousands of Ukrainians are dying, and families are being targeted by Russian hit squads just as we were."

"This war gets worse by the day," wrote Ramsey.

As the invasion of Ukraine continues, reports have emerged of Russian forces targeting residential areas.

"Reports of Russia's human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law are mounting by the hour," U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said earlier this week. He pointed to Russian attacks on Ukraine hospitals, schools, residential buildings and civilian transportation.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, as of Friday there has been one journalist killed in the conflict. Camera operator Yevhenii Sakun was killed on Tuesday when Russian military forces shelled a television tower in Kyiv, according to the group.

Newsweek has reached out to Ramsay for comment.