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Russian TV journalists come under mortar fire in eastern Ukraine

June 24, 2014, 16:50 UTC+3 MOSCOW

It is unclear who opened fire and whether there were any casualties or destruction

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Part of a mortar shell seen in Sloviansk

Part of a mortar shell seen in Sloviansk

© AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko

Infographics Who fights in Ukraine

Who fights in Ukraine

The political crisis in Ukraine led to the formation of many armed groups on its territory. Infographics by ITAR-TASS
MOSCOW, June 24. /ITAR-TASS/. A camera crew of Russia’s Channel One has come under mortar fire near the besieged city of Sloviansk in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region; no journalists have been injured, the TV channel’s website reports on Tuesday.

It is unclear who opened fire and whether there were any casualties or destruction, it added.

Last week, reporter Igor Kornelyuk, sound engineer Voloshin and cameraman Viktor Denisov from public broadcaster VGTRK were caught under mortar fire near Luhansk when filming self-defense forces helping local residents leave the area of military hostilities. Denisov survived the June 17 attack.

Following the tragic events, authorities in Ukraine's capital, Kiev, were challenged to ensure safety for news professionals working in that country's armed conflict zones.

“The situation with the mass media in Ukraine is constantly deteriorating. We have to face again the fact that Russian journalists truthfully reporting on Ukrainian events are being hunted,” warned Andrei Kelin, Russia's ambassador to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), quoted on Russia's Foreign Ministry website last Friday.

“If Russian journalists had been detained and tortured before, now they are just being killed,” he was quoted as saying. “We join OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatovic in calling on Kiev’s authorities to protect media representatives working in Ukrainian conflict zones and to bring those responsible for the tragedy to trial,” he added.

Last week, Mijatovic expressed concern that “the media freedom environment” was deteriorating in Ukraine. “I am also worried about the harassment of journalists in the country, which has a negative effect on media professionals who strive to inform the public. I continue to call on all parties to let journalists do their job in a free and safe manner,” she said in a statement then.

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