When Russian tanks rolled over the border into Ukraine on February 24, the Kyiv Independent had been operating for just over three months.

After the entire editorial staff were fired by owner of the Kyiv Post in early November 2021 over concerns about the newspaper’s editorial independence, 30 former journalists and editors regrouped and within two weeks had cobbled together funding, developed a website and launched a brand new news outlet of their own: the Kyiv Independent.

Fast forward and the online English-language news platform has become one of the leading sources of news and information on the war from within Ukraine, amassing a global audience of 1.6 million followers and raising nearly £900,000 to help keep it up and running.

Amidst the horrors of the conflict, the start-up news organization’s remarkable growth and the courageous work of its team of reporters, some of whom are continuing to work on the ground, have offered an inspiring story of journalistic rebirth in challenging circumstances.

Alongside multiple other exemplary Ukrainian media outlets, the Kyiv Independent has also become a symbol of professional and trusted reporting about ongoing developments, while also underscoring the need for this kind of independent journalism not to be extinguished within the country.

As part of our response to the crisis, IPI is mobilizing our network of newsrooms across Europe in preparation for providing shelter for journalists fleeing the bloodshed and is establishing a systematic monitoring platform to document all attacks on the press, which will be launched soon.

Thanks to support from the Limelight Foundation, IPI has been able to provide immediate emergency funding for much-needed safety equipment for journalists in Ukraine, which is on its way to them now. This money was used to purchase gear such as protective helmets, bullet proof vests, and satellite telephones.

IPI is also establishing a Ukraine solidarity fund. Members and supporters that wish to make a contribution can send them to the following IPI bank account: Bank: Raiffeisenlandesbank Wien. IBAN: AT19 3200 0003 0702 5984. BIC (Swift): RLNWATWW. Please clearly communicate any payment with ‘Ukraine Journalists Solidarity Fund’.

All money raised will go directly to Ukraine journalists via a common fundraising platform organized by Jakub Parusinski, CFO of the Kyiv Independent and co-founder of The Fix, in cooperation with IPI project partner the Ukrainian NGO Media Development Foundation and other organizations including Are We Europe, Jnomics, and various publishers around Europe.

Parusinski told IPI the funding will help a dozen national and regional media outlets re-establish their bases operations outside the country so they can continue to safely report on developments. While the majority of staff from the Kyiv Independent have already left the capital, a handful of correspondents have remained behind to cover the war.

Secondly, in anticipation of an expected flow of displaced journalists, IPI is setting up a database of newsrooms ready to provide practical support to journalists forced to flee the country. Among other things we are looking to coordinate members who can offer to host displaced journalists by providing them with a workspace in their newsrooms and possibly support in finding accommodation.  For those interested in providing this or other form of practical support, please contact the IPI secretariat directly at [email protected].

Lastly, IPI is also setting up a dedicated database to systematically record all violations related to the Ukraine conflict. We will be cross posting these alerts with the two other platforms that IPI contributes to including the Council of Europe’s Platform for the Protection and Safety of Journalists and the Mapping Media Freedom platform in which we cooperate with several media freedom partners and coordinate advocacy efforts.

Please note, while we are heavily focused on Ukraine, the needs of our colleagues in both Russia and Belarus bravely trying to fight the censorship and repression are also on our minds and will be equally part of our solidarity strategy.