On 16 February 2024, the office building of Vorskla, a newspaper operating in the commune of the town of Velyka Pysarivka (located 6 km from the border with Russia in Ukraine’s northern Sumy region), was damaged as a result of a Russian artillery strike on the center of the town. According to a local representative of the Institute of Mass Information (IMI), a Ukrainian press freedom group, the attack took place in the evening hours and damaged civilian infrastructure, including houses of local residents. Two missiles fell near the office of Vorskla: as a result, all of the windows in the building were shattered and the roof was damaged. Various property at the premises was also damaged, however devices essential to the newspaper’s work were not affected. As the incident took place in the evening, no one was inside the building at the time of the attack.

Oleksiy Pasyuha, the owner of Vorskla, said that the office was more severely damaged this time than following intense fighting which took place in the area at the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, in February-March 2022.

Speaking to IMI, he said that the premises were rapidly secured thanks to assistance from local authorities: “On the morning after the shelling, the commune’s authorities gave us all the necessary materials [to secure the premises]: film and [wooden] boards, which the commune’s workers helped to put in place. By now, everything has been cleaned up and the windows have been covered with boards. As of now, there is a risk that the heating system will fail due to significant damage to another part of the building, but we hope there will be no severe frosts [before the end of the winter] and that everything will pass.”

Vorskla, which takes its name from river near the town of Velyka Pysarivka, has been printed and distributed in the area for the past 30 years, according to its website. The media outlet’s team currently runs active pages on Facebook and Telegram. The frontline newspaper continued to be printed even following the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

1 case
Europe: Ukraine
Verbal, online or physical attack: Attack on media infrastructure/offices