In 2022, the Kyiv Independent became the only Ukrainian media to publish investigative stories looking into alleged misconduct and corruption in the Ukrainian military. It’s a taboo topic among Ukrainian journalists who often choose to self-censor in order to avoid hurting their country’s military or government as Ukraine is fighting a war for survival against the Russian invasion. The Kyiv Independent published two investigations into alleged misconduct in the International Legion, a special unit of the Ukrainian army created for foreigners who volunteered to fight for Ukraine. Among the allegations is the most taboo topic of all: Western-donated weapons going missing, allegedly embezzled by the corrupt commandment.
Publishing a story like this in Ukraine today means not only dealing with accusations of being a traitor, but also facing a criminal prosecution. The Kyiv Independent chose to not self-censor. As journalists, we believe in our duty to report facts. As Ukrainian citizens and patriots, we believe that shedding light on any misconduct is helping Ukraine, not hurting it. We published an editorial explaining our views on this.
This presentation is by Anna Myroniuk, the head of investigations at the Kyiv Independent, and the author of both stories. Anna will explain how the team worked on the investigations, and what it had to deal with when investigating Ukrainian military during an invasion. It will mention both the hard moral choices and the practical lessons of these investigations.
Organised in association with The Kyiv Independent.