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Russia’s missing photo journalist allegedly captured by national guards in Ukraine

August 08, 2014, 14:23 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Safety of journalists working in Ukraine’s war-torn southeastern regions repeatedly raised international concerns

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© AP Photo/Sergei Grits

MOSCOW, August 08. /ITAR-TASS/. A Russian photo journalist, who was earlier reported to go missing in Ukraine’s embattled southeastern region, had been allegedly seized by pro-Kiev National Guard forces, a colleague of the missing journalist told ITAR-TASS on Friday.

One of Russia’s largest state-run news agencies Rossiya Segodnya (formerly known as RIA Novosti) earlier reported that it last heard from its photo journalist Andrei Stenin on August 5.

“According to unverified information, he [Stenin] was captured by the Ukrainian National Guard forces,” Alexander Shtol, the head of the Rossiya Segodnya agency's photo service, said. “We have not yet managed to get in touch with him personally.”

Shtol earlier said that the journalist could have gone to the town of Shakhtersk with the militia fighting against pro-Kiev troops.

Safety of journalists working in Ukraine’s war-torn southeastern regions repeatedly raised international concerns, particularly following a series killings of Russian and international journalists over the two months.

Russian television journalist Anatoly Klyan was killed in late June after a bus he was riding in with other journalists came under fire in the Donetsk Region. The 68-year-old journalist worked as a cameraman for state-run television broadcaster Channel One and had 40 years of television work experience.

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.

Pro-Kiev troops and local militias in Donetsk and Luhansk regions are involved in fierce clashes as the Ukrainian armed forces are conducting a military operation to regain control over the breakaway regions, which on May 11 proclaimed their independence at local referendums.

During the military operation, Kiev has used armored vehicles, heavy artillery and attack aviation. Many buildings have been destroyed and tens of thousands of people have had to flee Ukraine’s embattled Southeast.

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