Colleague lays flowers in memory of photo journalist Andrei Stenin killed in southeastern Ukraine, at the Rossiya Segodnya building. (RIA Novosti/Ramil Sitdikov)
Russian journalist Andrey Stenin, missing in eastern Ukraine for a month, has been confirmed dead, RIA Novosti, the news agency where he worked, reports. He was in a vehicle traveling in a convoy of escaping civilians when it came under heavy fire.
Stenin apparently died in a vehicle, on his way to an assignment, according to the agency’s director, Dmitriy Kisilev.
“The car had been shot up and burnt on a highway in the vicinity of Donetsk,” he said in a statement.“The autopsy results came back this morning. He was indeed in that car – the 33-year-old young man, a brilliant professional, someone who cared.”
Russia’s Investigative Committee has determined that the car had come under fire as a Ukrainian attack on the self-defense forces was taking place. The car had been travelling in a convoy, together with those escaping the conflict. It was guarded by six members of the self-defense forces.
The unit that carried out the attack was also using a tank, according to the investigators.
More than 10 cars containing peaceful civilians had been shot up. The contents of the vehicles, including the civilians’ belongings, had come into Ukrainian posession.
The following day Ukrainian commanders arrived at the scene. According to Vladimir Markin of the Investigative Committee and testimony gathered from bystanders, “they weren’t only inspecting the wreckages and identifying bodies, but were also loading the contents of the vehicles into their own and searching the remains,” he said.
“After the commanders had left the scene, it was fired on with Grad missiles,” he added.
“The investigation will not stop at determining the exact details of the shooting. It also aims to find those responsible and bring them to justice.”
Moscow has asked that Kiev carry out the same“impartial and thorough investigation.”
It was only on August 27 that Russian authorities had been given the remains of the five persons who were in the car with Stenin at the time of the attack. “Russian experts studied the remains, which contained those of Stenin as well,” Markin told journalists.
Kisilev also said that mediators on the Ukrainian side were earlier offering to negotiate Stenin’s release – possibly an exchange – in this way giving credence to the view that he may be alive.
Stenin, 33, a photojournalist contributing to several leading Russian and international news agencies including AP, Reuters, AFP, Rossiya Segodnya (RIA Novosti) and ITAR-TASS, had been covering the conflict in eastern Ukraine before all contact with him was lost on August 5.
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