There is no more dangerous assignment for journalists than reporting from a war zone and news crews that brave the risks to report from the front lines are a rare breed indeed.
A CNN crew experienced this danger firsthand when they came under fire from Russian artillery while embedded with a group of Ukrainian fighters near the city of Mykolaiv.
CNN Senior International Correspondent Ben Wedeman and his crew escaped a very close call that resulted in one of their vehicles being destroyed, and they kept the camera rolling throughout the attack.
“Keep on rolling. You see over there?” Wedeman tells his cameraman, before narrating, “We hug the earth. Two more artillery rounds.”
“Oh shit,” someone can be heard saying as an artillery round hits nearby.
“And so we run with full body armor to the cars,” Wedeman then said, as someone is heard shouting, “Go, go, go!”
“All right, right now we are trying to get out of this area as quickly as possible,” the reporter said, once the crew had loaded up in other other vehicle. “Our other car is completely destroyed.”
Wedeman would describe the harrowing even afterwards during a segment with anchor Wolf Blitzer.
“Well, we arrived at these trenches about 6 or 7 kilometers from the Russians front lines. It was relatively quiet, and we were just trying to engage the soldiers there to find out how the situation was,” he explained. “The shell come slamming in very close to us. We took cover and another two shells landed, one of them maybe ten yards from one of our cars. So we went running towards the car to try to get out of the area after the officer in charge of that position told us we should leave because there may be more incoming rounds, only to find one of our two cars destroyed, all the windows shattered and there was petrol all over the ground around the car, all the tires were flat from the shrapnel.”
“We had to pile into the second car — we’re a total of six people, and that’s a car that only seats for five and our producer had to get into the back of the car — and drive like crazy out of there. The second car was also hit by shrapnel, but it was still able to get us back to Mykolaiv,” Wedeman continued. “It was indeed a close call and I had a few close calls in my time, but we got back to Mykolaiv to find out that this city today has been hit by multiple rocket attacks, Russian’s rockets and missile attacks killing ten people and wounding 46. One of those strikes, which killed nine people, was on a marketplace not far from here and this seems to be the pattern while we are seeing this artillery barrages on the outside of town. The city itself is getting pounded every single day and hospitals have been hit.”
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