Interrupt This Program

On Ukraine's front lines with Toronto journalist Christian Borys

Toronto-born Christian Borys went to Kiev to connect with his roots and to freelance as a journalist. He stayed, despite the dangers, to bear witness to the violence and to keep the world informed of the crisis.

“If you go five hours from Toronto, you are in Montreal. If you go five hours here, you are at war.”

Christian Borys

Christian Borys spent this past summer on the front lines of battle in eastern Ukraine to cover the war between pro-Russian Rebels and Ukrainian armed forces. Donning a combat helmet and full military garb, the only visible difference between him and the soldiers dressed in similar attire was the word "PRESS" boldly stitched across his bullet-proof vest. And, of course, his camera.

(Courtesy of Yura Melko)

Born and raised in Toronto to Eastern European parents, Christian moved to Kiev as a freelance journalist in January 2015 to reconnect with his roots. As the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine between pro-Russian rebels and the Ukrainian forces worsened, Christian felt compelled to stay to report on the crisis affecting the lives of Ukrainians in the east. To date, over 8,000 civilians and soldiers have been killed in the conflict.

His work has been published in The Guardian, Maclean's, Global and VICE news. We caught up with Christian for the filming of Interrupt This Program in Kiev right before he embarked on one of his most dangerous assignments to date.

(Courtesy of Yura Melko)

After we filmed him in Kiev, Christian left for the eastern borders of Ukraine to shed light on issues like military conscription, soldiers' access to medical care and youth who have lost a father in battle. He has risked his life to keep people informed.

More recently, Christian teamed up with an independent media organization in Kiev called Hromadske to become the executive producer of The Sunday Show, the only English-language program covering events in the region. Hromadske is also one of the only independent online news organizations in Ukraine, using YouTube and social media as outlets for unfiltered news reporting across the country.

(Courtesy of Yura Melko)

As executive producer at Hromadske, Christian runs the weekly program, developing and overseeing content and heading up a 100-person team of journalists, camera operators, writers and interviewees. To find out about his latest updates from a country torn between Europe and Russia, follow him on Twitter at @ItsBorys and keep up with Hromadske's live news updates at @HromadskeTV.

Catch Christian on Interrupt This Program Friday November 20, at 8:30/9pm NT