Ukrainian authorities have issued a new media accreditation for journalist Anton Skyba, 99 days after he first applied.
Mr. Skyba has worked with The Globe and Mail as a photographer and reporter since 2014, and his coverage of the Russian invasion last year was nominated for a National Newspaper Award. He had been called for multiple interviews by the Security Service of Ukraine (commonly known as the SBU), which had asked for a lie detector test and questioned whether Mr. Skyba’s work was aligned with the country’s “national interests.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau raised Mr. Skyba’s case in a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv this past weekend. Mr. Skyba, currently on contract with The Globe, has received journalist accreditation in Ukraine since 2015. His failure to secure a new credential had hampered the newspaper’s ability to cover the war.
On Tuesday, Ukraine reissued Mr. Skyba’s press accreditation, after meetings with The Globe on Monday. A senior SBU officer apologized for the delay, citing the need to fulfill multiple steps in a bureaucratic process for numerous journalists. Mr. Skyba’s previous accreditation expired May 1.
“I’m satisfied that I can get back to the field reporting,” Mr. Skyba said. “However, it is late and we missed some major stories.”
With martial law imposed across Ukraine, it is difficult to conduct journalism without the military-issued accreditation.
“We are pleased this issue has been resolved,” said David Walmsley, editor-in-chief of The Globe. “Reporting on war requires freedom of movement to ensure independent journalism can tell the truth.”
Mr. Skyba, 34, grew up in eastern Ukraine in an area that fell under the control of Russian-backed separatists in 2014. His parents, who still live there, have taken Russian passports. The SBU questioned Mr. Skyba about his connections to Russia and areas in its sphere of influence, including Belarus.
Kateryna Sergatskova, a co-founder of the 2402 Fund, which equips journalists for war zone reporting, said last week that at least 10 Ukrainian journalists have had trouble securing accreditation in the past six weeks. Each of them have some connection to Russia or territories it occupies. (Mr. Skyba is a consultant and trainer with the fund; he has also worked with the author of this article.)
The Ukrainian embassy said security is the country’s sole concern in assessing journalist credentials. It did not comment on Mr. Skyba’s receipt of accreditation Tuesday.
The Committee to Protect Journalists called for Ukraine to “ensure that journalists covering the war are not pressured over their reporting,” in a statement last week,
Mr. Skyba said he remains worried about journalists who do not have the backing of major media corporations.
“I’m concerned that my case won’t change the system,” he said. Ukraine’s approach to journalism, he said, “should be changed in terms of keeping Ukraine covered and on the front pages – not only of international media, but of local media, as well.”