Date and Time: Tue, 30 Jan 2024 19:00 – 20:30 GMT
Location: Frontline Club, 13 Norfolk Place London W2 1QJ
“We are caught in the middle. They are firing from machines guns and mortars from the hill and from a mortar nearby” – these were the final words said by a Russian reporter and human rights defender Andrej Mironov moments before he and his Italian colleague, Andrea Rocchelli, became the first journalists killed in the Russo-Ukraine war. “Crossfire” is an investigative documentary into the deaths of Andrej and Andrea and the subsequent incarceration of a Ukrainian soldier, Vitaly Markiv, who was wrongfully accused of the journalists’ deaths. This film is realised with the contribution and support of Justice for Journalists, which is the foundation for international investigation of crime against media.
This independent investigation not only makes fundamental steps in uncovering what happened on May 24, 2014 when journalists were caught in a crossfire under the Karachun hill, hiding in a ditch between the Ukrainian army and the Russian-backed separatists, but also sheds light on the Russian propaganda that made its way into European mainstream media and played a significant role in finding a scapegoat at all costs, despite Markiv having always claimed his innocence.
As we enter the third year of the full-scale invasion of Russian troops onto the Ukrainian soil, this documentary and the post-show discussion will invite the audience to reflect on the ten years of the Russo-Ukrainian war that began with the annexation of the Crimea.
The panel of experts will also touch upon the role of the Russian propaganda in assisting the Kremlin in its aim to win the war, and the plight of journalists who are paying the ultimate price in reporting the true facts on this destructive conflict.
Cristiano Tinazzi: Freelance journalist specialising in war and crisis areas. He has travelled several times to Lebanon, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Ukraine, South Sudan and many other countries. A radio and television producer for Rsi (Swiss Radio and Television), he writes for several Italian newspapers including Today.it, Il Messaggero, and sometimes for El Pais. In 2015, he founded the War Reporting Training Camp, a Hefat course dedicated to information workers. Amca Human Rights Award 2023 at the Lugano Festival with the radio work ‘Diary from Ukraine’. His first book, ‘All this pain’, a book about the war in Ukraine and a personal trauma, will be published in February 2024 by Paesi Edizioni.
Maria Ordzhonikidze is the director of the Justice for Journalists Foundation. Over the course of her international career, Ms Ordzhonikidze has designed and managed a number of public awareness, advocacy, human rights and crisis management campaigns. As a Secretary General of the EU-Russia Centre she oversaw its research and lobbying efforts in Brussels and wider Europe. She ran the international litigation communication and advocacy campaign as the Head of Khodorkovsky Press Center in Russia. As visiting professor in International Communications at Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia, she conducted training programmes for corporations, NGOs and individuals. Ms Ordzhonikidze has authored research and articles and regularly speaks on subjects including sociological and political trends, international relations, freedom of speech and global security. She holds an MA in Sociology from the Moscow State University and an MA in Intelligence and Security from the London Brunel University.
Sophia Kayes (nee Nagovitsyna) was born in 1983 in the USSR, into a family of soviet intellectuals and dissidents. They were persecuted and prosecuted by the KGB for reading and distributing banned books, and for having foreign friends including human rights activists and journalists. Andrej Mironov, a Russian human rights defender, peace-builder and reporter, may be described as a close friend of Sophia’s parents but in fact he was always regarded as family, despite the lack of blood relation. Sophia grew up knowing Andrej from birth and always referred to him as her Uncle. Andrej Mironov was also Sophia’s mentor in the study of peace-building and reconciliation process, introducing her at the age of 6 (1989) to an organisation now called Initiatives of Change, previously known as Moral Re-Armament. Sophia’s first job in journalism at the Moscow bureau of the US based newspaper The Baltimore Sun (2004-2006) was also made possible due to Andrej Mironov’s reference. His guidance and advice were present throughout Sophia’s life until Andrej Mironov’s brutal and untimely death alongside his colleague and friend, an Italian photojournalist, Andrea Rocchelli. The last time Sophia and Andrej spoke was in April 2014, when they discussed the annexation of the Crimea as well as Andrej and Andrea’s upcoming work in the Russian occupied Donbas region, the issues that are touched upon in the investigative documentary entitled Crossfire.
Anastasia Taylor-Lind is a British/Swedish photojournalist and a poet. She has reported on the war in Ukraine since 2014. In 2023, she received the Canon Female Photojournalist Award for her long-term reporting from eastern Ukraine. Anastasia is a National Geographic Society Explorer, TED Fellow, and 2016 Nieman Fellow at Harvard university. Her first book Maidan – Portraits from the Black Square, about the 2014 revolution in Ukraine, was published the same year.