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Russia’s Public Chamber asks Ukraine for info on missing Russian journalist

August 08, 2014, 17:03 UTC+3 MOSCOW

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

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© ITAR-TASS / Michael Pochuev

MOSCOW, August 08. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s Public Chamber urged Ukraine on Friday to immediately provide information on a Russian photo journalist, who earlier went missing in the embattled Ukrainian southeastern region, a member of the chamber said.

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.

“We demand that the Ukrainian authorities immediately provide information on his fate,” Dmitry Biryukov, the head of the chamber’s commission for the information society, media and mass communications, said.

He also said that the Public Chamber “currently prepares documents on the situation regarding Stenin to be submitted with the Council of Europe, the OSCE [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe] and international human rights organizations.

Stenin’s colleague earlier said that the photo journalist was allegedly captured by pro-Kiev National Guard forces.

“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.

Biryukov also said that the other important thing was to secure protection of all journalists working in Ukraine.

“This is quite obvious that they [journalists] are not participating in combat actions, however, what we see in reality in southeastern Ukraine that their rights exist only on paper,” Biryukov said.

Security 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.

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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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