Vira Hyrych: Radio Liberty Ukrainian journalist killed in Kyiv

Vira Hyrych is among more than 20 media workers who have been killed in Ukraine since Russia’s war began.

Vira Hyrych
Hyrych had worked for Radio Liberty's Ukrainian-language service in its Kyiv bureau since 2018 [Vira Hyrych/Facebook]

Vira Hyrych, a journalist working for Radio Liberty in Ukraine, was killed during a Russian missile attack in Kyiv, the station has said.

The United States-funded news organisation said rescue workers found her body on Friday morning amid the wreckage of the residential building where she had lived.

Russian forces struck the building on Thursday evening in an attack that coincided with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s visit to the Ukrainian capital for talks with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Hyrych’s home was next to a plant that produces anti-tank missiles.

She is among more than 20 media workers who have been killed in Ukraine since Russia launched its invasion on February 24, according to the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine.

“We are deeply saddened by the death of our Ukrainian Service staffer Vira Hyrych in Kyiv overnight. We have lost a dear colleague who will be remembered for her professionalism and dedication to our mission,” James Fly, Radio Liberty’s president, said in a statement.

“We are shocked and angered by the senseless nature of her death at home in a country and city she loved. Her memory will inspire our work in Ukraine and beyond for years to come.”

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) is active in 23 nations and says its mission is to report the news “in countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established”.

Hyrych, 55, had worked for Radio Liberty’s Ukrainian-language service in its Kyiv bureau since 2018 and was previously employed by a leading Ukrainian television channel.

‘Patient, diligent, kind and dedicated’

Ukrainian officials and colleagues condemned her killing.

Ukrainian foreign ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko accused Russia of “incomprehensible barbarism”.

“We call on media organisations to condemn the murder of Vira and all other innocent Ukrainians,” he tweeted.

Radio Liberty reporter Mike Eckel in Prague praised Hyrych as “patient, diligent, kind and dedicated”.

“Vira was one of the nicest people in our bureau,” he tweeted.

Andy Heil, also in the Czech capital, said the organisation was “grieving” within “wider revulsion at [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s unprovoked invasion”.

Russia says it struck military infrastructure

Ukraine’s emergency services said at least 10 people were wounded in Thursday’s attack, which came as Moscow refocuses its offensive in the eastern Donbas region.

Russia has confirmed that it hit sites in Kyiv on Thursday.

A Russian defence ministry spokesman said the military had “destroyed production buildings” at a defence factory using “high-precision, long-range weaponry”.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said cruise missiles had been used in the attack, while Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said one person was killed when a residential building was hit.

Klitschko did not provide any further details at the time.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies