LOS ANGELES (AP) — Two documentaries detailing the punitive effects of Russia’s war on Ukraine will air on PBS’ “Frontline” investigative series.
The specials are part of an extensive collaboration between the series and The Associated Press that includes collecting, verifying and cataloging potential war crimes and co-publishing stories and videos from AP and war reporting. “Frontline”.
“Putin’s Attack on Ukraine: Documenting War Crimes” will describe the record of previous Russian conflicts and the invasion of Ukraine.
The film, from director Tom Jennings, producer Annie Wong and AP investigative reporter Erika Kinetz and colleagues, aims to expose “the challenges of trying to hold Russia to account,” according to Wednesday’s announcement.
The second documentary, “20 Days in Mariupol”, will present Russia’s attack on the Ukrainian city through the work of AP video journalist Mstyslav Chernov. He and two colleagues were the only international journalists left in Mariupol to cover the attack, which included the bombing of a maternity hospital.
Both films are set to premiere on “Frontline” when it begins a new season in September. Specific air dates have not been announced.
The “Frontline” initiative and AP, which includes War Crimes Watch Ukraine interactive experience, has documented more than 300 incidents involving potential war crimes since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.
“We hope that our collaborative reporting efforts can reveal the true toll of this war and preserve this moment in history,” Raney Aronson-Rath, executive producer and editor of “Frontline,” said in a statement.
During a virtual roundtable with television critics on Wednesday, Chernov was asked how he weighs his personal safety against such high-profile reporting.
“There is a constant sense of danger. It’s impossible to get used to it,” he said. “But again, it’s something that pushes you to work and just motivates you to keep going and trying to say more.”
Alison Kodjak, associate editor of AP global investigations, and Béatrice Dupuy, AP fact-checking reporter, also participated in the panel. Kodjak said the collaborative effort with “Frontline” documents evidence of incidents, as opposed to individual counts of criminal activity.
“We are not law enforcement, so we are unable to determine how many crimes these incidents represent,” Kodjak said. The number of criminal charges could potentially far exceed the hundreds of incidents recorded so far, she said.
“We were able, through the hard work of people like Beatrice, to say, ‘This video is real. It happened when it was claimed,'” Kodjak said. It was actually a hospital. It was not being used by the army at the time it was bombed.”
Dupuy said the process for assessing each possible incident is thorough and includes reviewing the “deluge of social media posts, videos and photos” emerging from Ukraine, verifying key images and corroborating findings with AP reports and other information.
“We really take the time to check every single one of them and have the evidence to show every incident and what happened as well,” she said.
In March, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court launched an investigation that could target senior officials allegedly responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide during the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which began February 24.
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