Brussels-based correspondent Erika Kinetz of the AP teamed up with PBS “Frontline” on a joint investigation showing that the much-reported Russian violence against civilians in and around Bucha, Ukraine, was not carried out by rogue soldiers. Rather, it was strategic and organized brutality, perpetrated in areas under tight Russian control and where military officers — including a prominent general — were present.
For a pair of stories, AP and “Frontline” interviewed dozens of witnesses and survivors, and reviewed audio intercepts and surveillance camera footage to document what happened. The journalists also obtained Russian battle plans from the Royal United Services Institute, a think tank in London, showing how troops were instructed to block and destroy vestiges of “nationalist resistance.”
One of the stories tied the violence to Russian Col. Gen. Alexander Chaiko, who was in command. The other shows the wrenching impact of the Russian terror campaign on one woman who lost the man she called her “big, big love.” Kinetz’s story was written with sensitivity and showed how, in the end, the losses suffered far outweigh any measures of justice that may be applied. The pieces included photos by Kinetz and AP photojournalists Emilio Morenatti, Felipe Dana, Rodrigo Abd and Vadim Ghirda.
The deeply reported stories made headlines and had strong reader engagement scores. And if there is to be any justice, an international human rights lawyer, working to hold Russia legally accountable for atrocities in Syria, said the evidence collected was enough to merit an investigation of Gen. Chaiko at the International Criminal Court, because, ”half the job is done“ by the AP and “Frontline.“