Aleksey Pechiy has claimed he will be better off fighting for Ukrainian cause from abroad
Ukrainian TV channel 24 has disowned and accused their presenter, Aleksey Pechiy, of betraying public trust after the journalist, sent to cover the European Council summit in Brussels earlier this month, refused to return back to Kiev.
The reporter issued a lengthy missive on social media on Friday, explaining his “difficult decision” to stay in the EU. He argued that his primary goal as a journalist was to “shape the audience’s attitude to certain events,” and since “the level of support for Ukraine among Western society is changing” he had no choice but to stay behind to promote “horizontal communication with Western society.”
“As a Ukrainian journalist, I will continue the informational war for Ukraine, working with Western media projects to promote the Ukrainian agenda in Western society. Despite condemnation, pressure and persecution, I will not stop doing what I know and what can bring our victory even a little closer,” he claimed, adding that he was “aware that public condemnation awaits me in Ukraine.”
The CEO of Lux Media Holding that owns the channel, Roman Andreiko, said that Pechiy has “literally burned all bridges,” fully realizing “all the consequences of his escape.”
“To say that I am shocked is an understatement!… And the people who loved watching and listening to Aleksey’s analytics so much, must accept this and and decide for themselves whether they are ready to continue to believe him,” he added.
Kiev shut its border for men of conscription age after the hostilities with Russia erupted in February last year, banning anyone without a special waiver from leaving. However, thousands of Ukrainian men bribed their way out, mainly into EU nations. Nearly 190,000 Ukrainian men settled in Germany alone.
Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov told Bild this week that all Ukrainian men of military-age who have fled abroad will be summoned to recruitment centers. He said he has little sympathy for draft dodgers, insisting “it’s not a punishment to defend and serve your country. It’s an honor.”
Ukraine is currently struggling to refill the ranks of its army after a failed summer counteroffensive, and is taking additional measures to enhance border controls amid daily attempts by men desperate to illegally flee the country. President Vladimir Zelensky said earlier this month that the nation’s military had proposed calling up an additional 450,000-500,000 people. Zelensky’s aide Mikhail Podoliak said on Friday that no one should be allowed to just “sit out” the conflict and shed responsibility for their nation.