fredag 18. mars 2022

‘I’m on the frontline in Mariupol’: the Chinese reporter embedded with Russian troops

In a flak jacket and helmet, the Chinese reporter Lu Yuguang stands on the side of a road as a Russian tank roars past. “I’m on the frontline in Mariupol,” he says into the microphone. He then interviews a Russian soldier who says he’s not nervous as he’s been “fighting for eight years”. In another shot, Lu talks with a group of Russian soldiers in the back of a military vehicle.

The dispatches are unusual for their extraordinary access – Lu, a veteran war reporter for a Chinese news outlet, Phoenix TV, is perhaps the only foreign correspondent embedded with Russian troops as they continue the brutal invasion of Ukraine. He has filed reports from cities under Russian attack since the invasion began almost three weeks ago, including in Mariupol where local authorities say thousands of people have been killed.

Lu appears to have gained exclusive access to Russia’s side of the conflict. In one report on 2 March, he interviewed the leader of the self-proclaimed republic in Donetsk, Denis Pushilin. Lu said the Donetsk militia cannot compare to Ukrainian forces, “but with the help of Russian forces, eastern Ukraine militia have liberated 40 residential areas within the administrative line. The victory keeps expanding.”