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* *This article was introduced in the 'SDF Diary', a newsletter sent every Wednesday morning.

The 'SDF Diary' is written by members of the SBS News Headquarters Future Team who are preparing for the <SBS D Forum>.

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Insight for you, an SDF diary sent by SBS D Forum.



In April, SDF Diary discusses how to view the movement of active solidarity between individuals in the course of the Ukraine war and what we can do in the face of this unbelievable reality. I borrowed the insight and gave it to you.



▶ Go to SDF Diary’s Karim Ben Kelifa edition


▶ Go to Karim Ben Kelly’s interview video



As time goes by, the 24th of next week will be exactly three months after the Russian army started the invasion of Ukraine’s capital, Kiiu.

The future team that makes the SBS D Forum is still thinking about what other things we should not let go of and pay attention to amid the pain of war that has no end like now.

And to find a clue to this difficult problem, we met and talked with reporter Kwak Sang-eun of SBS, who was the first Korean media to enter and cover the war in Ukraine.

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Q. You went to cover the war in Ukraine.

I know that this is the first entry for Korean media.

I don't think the process was smooth.



It was on March 1st that I started covering the Ukraine border area.

We started our first coverage at the border with Romania, which borders the southwestern part of Ukraine.

It's a place called Siretra, Romania, and it's a border town with a city in the southwestern part of Ukraine called Chernivtsi, so European relief goods were being delivered through that area.

So I was able to hear about the situation in Ukraine indirectly while covering Ukrainian refugees in the Siret region of Romania.



When various relief goods were delivered through Romanian Ciret, the deputy governor of Chernivtsi, Ukraine, personally came to express his gratitude.

At that time, our reporters shared a consensus among the reporters saying, "If it is an area where there is relatively stable traffic so that not only refugees but also Ukrainian government officials can come and go, wouldn't it be possible for our media too? Let's try it too."

The problem was the government.

Korea has a very strong passport law to protect its citizens.

Immediately after the outbreak of the war, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been constantly seeking coverage of Ukraine, but the government has a hard time saying, "We cannot allow media coverage because it has already been designated as a no-travel zone and it does not allow re-entry of Koreans who have escaped from the country." I was in position.



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▶ Related 8 News <The first Korean media to enter Ukraine…

"Daily bombing, no safe zone"> (As of March 21, 22)



However, when I went to the site, I realized that I had the confidence to persuade the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by this route (from Siret, Romania to Chernivtsi, Ukraine).

At the same time, I made a request to a Ukrainian government official that they would like to receive your cooperation if the Korean government grants permission, and we were able to get very positive responses.

Based on such plans,

he persuaded the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, saying, "We are convinced that we can reliably cover the matter after we found out. So, the government should review it again." It gave me permission to use my passport.

So SBS was the first Korean media to enter Ukraine.

The allowed time was 3 days 2 nights.



Q. You must have thought a lot from the time you were preparing for the interview.

What was the situation in Ukraine you actually faced?

There must have been a message that I really wanted to convey through local reports.



Since I am going to a country that is at war, many people were concerned about safety before and during entering.

The danger of missile strikes is unavoidable anywhere in Ukraine, but since Chernivtsi was not an area where ground forces had entered and engaged in battle, the emotions our reporters felt when we went there were more of 'sadness' than fear of safety.

There was anxiety and sadness that I felt while sympathizing with the hardships and hard feelings of people at war, and the anxiety they feel in a situation where the safety of separated families cannot be guaranteed. I don't think I did.



One of the people I met on the first day in Chernivtsi, Ukraine, across the border, had come to evacuation with a pregnant wife.

The couple had fled from Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, where the Russian army continues to carry out heavy missile attacks and ground forces are engaged in the surrounding area.

Both of them were strangers to Chernivtsi, the first to come.

Her wife was evacuating to a place that was considered relatively safe because she was full-term, but because her husband was a young man, a notice of enlistment had arrived.

So, I had to leave my pregnant wife in an unfamiliar city to enlist.

The couple responded very positively to the interview.


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They actively showed things such as photos and materials and talked about their position in a logical and calm manner.

However, as we talked about the situation in which she had to leave her wife alone, she eventually burst into tears and it broke my heart too.



Another person that impressed me was the soldier I met in Ukraine.

'Can I even talk like this?'

You told me so many stories that I wanted to.

Since I was in the military, it was an interview that I responded to while I was very busy.

I asked honestly.

"During such a busy and difficult time, why are we so actively involved in the coverage of reporters from far away countries who are not from a country that can provide us with a lot of military or financial support?"

Then they said, "I want to let them know of their (resistance) will."



I felt bad that I could not help them other than conveying their stories, sorrows, difficulties, and will as they are, but because that kind of help is what they want and it is the reason I respond to interviews with foreign media even in difficult situations. I felt a strong sense of responsibility.

I think I had a meaningful experience as a journalist.



Q. In the SDF Diary <Ep.98 'War and What You Can Do'>, I thought about 'solidarity' while talking about individuals who came to help Ukrainian refugees, such as providing accommodations for them.

The case was directly covered by Ciret, Romania.

I wonder what they looked like up close.



▶ Related 8 News A city flooded with 120,000 Ukrainian refugees…

Residents who gave up their houses (March 28, 22)



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There were several Romanian families that allowed families of Ukrainian refugees to stay in their homes.

Even Romanian and Ukrainian are not spoken.

You take care of those people all day while talking through the translation app.

When I asked if it was too hard, he said, "I'm having a hard time with people at war, what's hard for me?" He said, "I'm grateful to be able to help."



(Looking at such images)

The war itself shows a very negative and very cruel side of humanity, but behind the scenes of war, there is still a war zone and a scene where we can simultaneously confirm the good side of us humans and the values ​​of humanity. I thought it was the environment around me.



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Q. The phrase “I will come back to hear your stories” is very impressive.


If there were any voices we should not miss right now, what do you think it would be?



When I came back from my coverage of Ukraine, I made a promise that I would go back.

In the 21st century, it is a very shocking war that took place in the heart of Europe in 2022, but since it is a war that is geopolitically far away from our country, it will inevitably become dull as time goes by.



We do not know how long this war will last or whether it will end a little sooner than we thought, but even if the interest of Korean people becomes duller over time, as I feel responsible for the people I covered, It was also a promise with a sense of responsibility to keep delivering their voices so that their interest does not fade over time and their voices do not disappear somewhere.

Another was the strong desire to go to Ukraine, where peace was found in the process of restoration and reconstruction after the war, and to cover the stories of those people again.



I will be appointed as SBS Paris correspondent this summer.

It's a war in Europe, so of course we'll keep an eye on it.

We will check how the situation changes, and try to deliver it to Korean viewers whenever there is an opportunity so that the voices of those people will not be erased.


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Ukrainian President Zelensky and many people are using social media to convey the horrors of the war that is currently taking place around the world.

And it remains as a record of truth that no one can refute.

Recording and accumulating truth is important because it allows us to decide what kind of life we ​​should choose in the future.




During the interview with reporter Kwak Sang-eun, I realized how important it is to record the truth of the scene, even if it happens from a very distant place, and how powerful that record can be to the parties involved.

And that is probably the reason why journalists go to the scene to report and report even in dangerous and difficult situations.



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Future Team (Written by Choi Ye-jin sdf@sbs.co.kr)

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