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FRONTLINE and AP Present “Putin’s Attack on Ukraine: Documenting War Crimes”

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A Ukrainian woman walks amid the debris of a residential building following night shelling in Mykolaiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022. (AP Photo/Kostiantyn Liberov)

October 24, 2022
by
Anne Husted Manager, Public Relations & Communications, FRONTLINE

Putin’s Attack on Ukraine: Documenting War Crimes
Tuesday, October 25 at 10/9c on PBS and on YouTube
Streaming at 7/6c on pbs.org/frontline and in the PBS Video App
facebook.com/frontline | Twitter: @frontlinepbs | Instagram: @frontlinepbs | youtube.com/frontline

On Tuesday, Oct. 25, FRONTLINE (PBS) and The Associated Press will go inside Russia’s war on Ukraine with the premiere of Putin’s Attack on Ukraine: Documenting War Crimes.

From award-winning director Tom Jennings (Boeing’s Fatal Flaw, Opioids, Inc.), producer Annie Wong (Opioids, Inc.), AP global investigative reporter Erika Kinetz and her AP colleagues, the joint documentary traces a pattern of atrocities committed by Russian troops in Ukraine, focusing on the Kyiv suburbs, such as Bucha, where some of the most shocking carnage was found.

Putin’s Attack on Ukraine: Documenting War Crimes draws on exclusive original footage, interviews with Ukrainian citizens and prosecutors, top government officials and international war crimes experts, as well as a vast amount of previously unpublished evidence obtained and verified by the AP – including hundreds of hours of surveillance camera videos and thousands of audio recordings of intercepted phone calls made by Russian soldiers around Kyiv. 

The documentary also includes detailed forensic analysis and a 3-D model to help see the scope of the killings in Bucha, created with the visual investigations practice SITU Research.

Meticulously following the trail of accountability, Putin’s Attack on Ukraine: Documenting War Crimes shows how Russian soldiers carried out “cleansing operations” – zachistka, in Russian – sweeping neighborhoods as part of a strategy that went far beyond Bucha and was conceived and implemented within the command structures of the Russian military.

FRONTLINE and the AP uncover exclusive and harrowing evidence that links possible war crimes in Bucha through the chain of command to one of Russia’s top generals  —  evidence that prosecutors hope might help build a case against Russian President Vladimir Putin in court.  

But the joint investigation also explores the difficulties of prosecuting war crimes. Examining the war in Ukraine through the lens of the history of war crimes laws and different global conflicts, Putin’s Attack on Ukraine: Documenting War Crimes exposes the challenges of trying to hold Putin and other Russian leaders to account.

Putin’s Attack on Ukraine: Documenting War Crimes is part of a larger editorial collaboration between FRONTLINE and AP examining Russia’s war in Ukraine. The work also includes “War Crimes Watch Ukraine,” a multi-platform initiative that has gathered, verified, and comprehensively cataloged potential war crimes committed in Ukraine; co-published stories and videos; and 20 Days in Mariupol, a documentary from AP video journalist Mstyslav Chernov slated to premiere on PBS and online in 2023. 

“We started this project simply to bear witness to the atrocities happening in Ukraine because it was hard to believe what we were seeing from our reporters, photographers and on social media,” said Alison Fitzgerald Kodjak, AP’s acting global investigations editor. “But it’s now grown to encompass the question of whether there can be real justice in the wake of such horror and suffering.”

“We hope our collaborative reporting efforts with the AP can expose the true toll of this brutal war and preserve this moment in history. By verifying and documenting these possible war crimes, we aim to hold those in power accountable for the horrors unfolding in Ukraine,” said Raney Aronson-Rath, editor-in-chief and executive producer of FRONTLINE.

Against the backdrop of a war that shows no signs of ceasing, Putin’s Attack on Ukraine: Documenting War Crimes offers a window into the lives of Ukrainians living under siege, capturing the devastation of this war and the pursuit for accountability.

Putin’s Attack on Ukraine: Documenting War Crimes will be available to watch in full at pbs.org/frontline and in the PBS Video App starting Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022, at 7/6c. It will premiere on PBS stations (check local listings) and on FRONTLINE’s YouTube channel at 10/9c. Putin’s Attack on Ukraine: Documenting War Crimes  is distributed internationally by PBS International. Subscribe to FRONTLINE’s newsletter to get updates on events, podcast episodes and more related to Putin’s Attack on Ukraine: Documenting Putin’s War Crimes

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Credits

Putin’s Attack on Ukraine: Documenting War Crimes is a FRONTLINE production with 2Over10Media in association with The Associated Press. The directors are Thomas Jennings and Annie Wong. The producers are Thomas Jennings, Annie Wong and Erika Kinetz. The co-producers are Taras Lazer, Timothy Grucza and Scott Anger. The writer is Thomas Jennings. The correspondent is Erika Kinetz. The senior producer is Frank Koughan. The editor-in-chief and executive producer of FRONTLINE is Raney Aronson-Rath.

About FRONTLINE
FRONTLINE, U.S. television’s longest running investigative documentary series, explores the issues of our times through powerful storytelling. FRONTLINE has won every major journalism and broadcasting award, including 104 Emmy Awards and 28 Peabody Awards. Visit pbs.org/frontline and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube to learn more. FRONTLINE is produced at GBH in Boston and is broadcast nationwide on PBS. Funding for FRONTLINE is provided through the support of PBS viewers and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Additional support for FRONTLINE is provided by the Abrams Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Park Foundation, the Heising-Simons Foundation, and the FRONTLINE Journalism Fund, with major support from Jon and Jo Ann Hagler on behalf of the Jon L. Hagler Foundation, and additional support from Koo and Patricia Yuen. 

About AP
The Associated Press is an independent global news organization dedicated to factual reporting. Founded in 1846, AP today remains the most trusted source of fast, accurate, unbiased news in all formats and the essential provider of the technology and services vital to the news business. More than half the world’s population sees AP journalism every day. Online: www.ap.org

Contacts
Anne Husted, Manager, Public Relations and Communications
FRONTLINE (PBS)
617-300-5312
frontlinemedia@wgbh.org

Nicole Meir, Media Relations Manager
The Associated Press
212-621-7536
nmeir@ap.org