Reporters Without Borders filed a war crimes complaint against Russia with the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the bombing of television towers in Ukraine, a top official with the group said Saturday.
Secretary-General Christophe Deloire said on Twitter that a complaint was filed with the prosecutor of the ICC for the deliberate bombardment Friday of several television antennas.
Since March 1, Russian strikes have deliberately targeted four radio and television towers in Melitopol, Kherson, Kyiv, Korosten, Lysychansk and Kharkiv preventing the broadcast of Ukrainian media, the Paris-based organization said in a statement.
The installations were purely civilian infrastructure and not assigned to any military use, it noted.
Before attacking telecommunications antennas, Russian forces issued a warning making clear that they wanted to end the so-called “information attacks,” said the statement.
This “information war” has cut off access to Ukrainian media and deprived the civilian population of accurate news from the country.
The media watchdog cited the southern cities of Melitopol and Kherson, where Russian forces blocked Ukrainian television and radio broadcasts and changed the equipment of the telecommunications tower to broadcast the pro-Kremlin Russia 24 propaganda channel.
Deloire said the deliberate bombing of media infrastructures constitutes a war crime against the right to information. “These crimes are all the more serious because they are clearly part of a plan, a policy and are committed on a large scale,” he said, appealing to the ICC to add crimes against media and journalists into the existing investigation on the Ukraine situation that was opened Feb 28.
Reporters Without Borders also announced plans to open a Press Freedom Center and a center for financial and psychological resources in Lviv.
It will supply protective equipment, body armor and helmets to help journalists who are continuing to report on the war.