DONETSK, July 02 /ITAR-TASS/. The trip of reporters and mothers of military conscripts to a pro-Kiev military unit, in which a Russian cameraman was killed, had not been coordinated with the leadership of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR), republic’s prosecutor general Ravil Khalikov told Tass on Thursday.
“This trip was not planned, the DNR leadership had given no such task to anyone, and it happened so that people went to the military unit on their own,” he said. “The bus was covered with posters, but this means nothing for the Ukrainian army, and fire was opened on civilians without a warning,” he added.
DNR prime minister’s aide, Sergei Kovtunadze, said the staffers of the press centre that had organized the trip were sacked. If it turns out that the action was not coordinated with Ukrainian military, those responsible will face criminal responsibility.
Khalikov also said that Anatoly Klyan had most likely died of a gunshot wound damaging his lung. “We cannot say exactly what kind of weapon killed him, it is up to the expert examination, but the fire came from two sides, from about ten or more submachine guns,” he added. Earlier reports said Klyan,68, had died of a lethal stomach wound.
He died overnight to June 30 outside Donetsk. The tragedy occurred near military unit 1428, where a TV filming crew came to make a report. Anatoly Klyan was among other journalists on a bus with mothers of military conscripts going to a pro-Kiev military unit to demand the off-duty release of their sons, when the vehicle came under gunfire.
A criminal case was launched into the murder of Russia’s television cameraman on charges of warfare methods abuse and intended murder of a person carrying out professional duty. The case will be summed up with earlier opened criminal cases in regard to the Ukrainian authorities’ actions during the ongoing military conflict in the country.
Klyan’s murder is another in a chain of lethal attacks on journalists in the ongoing combat operation, which Ukrainian authorities are conducting in southeast Ukraine. Two correspondents from Russian central television and radio broadcasting company VGTRK, special correspondent Igor Kornelyuk and sound engineer Anton Voloshin, were killed near the eastern Ukrainian city of Lugansk on June 17.
They came under mortar fire near a roadblock of militia as they were filming a TV report about people’s militias helping to evacuate refugees from the combat zone. Journalists bore clearly visible media insignia at the moment of the attack. According to eyewitnesses, a mortar shell exploded near the Russian filming crew. Sound engineer Voloshin died at the scene and Kornelyuk died later at a local hospital.
On May 24, Italian photo correspondent Andrea Rocchelli and his Russian interpreter Andrey Mironov were killed in mortar fire near the city of Slavyansk.