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Radio Liberty Fires Reporter after He Publishes Video of Civilians Killed by Right-Wing Volunteer Battalion

Freedom of press as practiced by western media: A journalist who worked for Radio Liberty for 25 years was canned because he published a video of civilians killed by the Aidar battalion

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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe dismissed its military correspondent in eastern Ukraine Andrei Babitsky after he published a video showing bodies of civilians, allegedly killed by the Ukrainian armed forces, Czech Lidove Noviny newspaper reported Sunday.

“I recorded an exhumation of four bodies – two civilians and two fighters. The locals said that they were not independence supporters, but civilians residing in the Novosvitlivka village. They were killed by volunteers from Ukrainian Aidar battalion,” Babitsky said as quoted by the newspaper, adding that the recording was made in September 2014.

<figcaption>Friendly Aidar battalion</figcaption>
Friendly Aidar battalion

The reporter claimed he did not make any comments on the video before sending it to the Moldova’s Radio Liberty office.

“The video was published on the website. Right after that, the nationalists sitting in the Ukrainian Radio Liberty’s office got hysterical. The huge scandal erupted,” Babitsky said.

Andrei Babitsky worked for Radio Liberty for 25 years. He previously was a correspondent in the Northern Caucasus and strongly criticized Russian authorities during the war in Chechnya. However, he supported Moscow’s policy regarding the Crimean peninsula and Crimea’s reunification with Russia.

For his stance on the matter, Radio Liberty earlier dismissed the reporter from work for a month.

The Ukrainian forces began military operation in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas in April 2014, trying to suppress local independence supporters. During the confrontation, over 6,000 people were killed, according to UN estimates. 

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