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Russia Accuses Ukraine Forces in Journalist's Death

Demonstrators near the Ukraine embassy in Moscow seek information about missing Russian photographer Andrei Stenin on Aug. 26, 2014. His death was confirmed Sept. 3, 2014.

Russian officials say Ukrainian forces are responsible for the "barbarous" killing of a Russian photojournalist and are demanding an investigation.

Russia's Investigative Committee on Wednesday confirmed the death of Andrei Stenin, 33.

The committee said it believed Stenin was killed August 6 while covering the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine for the state-run RIA Novosti news agency. He was traveling with a convoy of fleeing civilians, and it came under fire by Ukrainian tanks close to the town of Snizhne in the Donetsk region.

Photographer Andrei Stenin is shown working near Damascus in this 2013 provided by Syria's ITAR-TASS.
Photographer Andrei Stenin is shown working near Damascus in this 2013 provided by Syria's ITAR-TASS.

The remains in a charred car had been positively identified as Stenin’s, the committee said, according to Reuters news service.

The photojournalist "was not imprisoned, he was not supposed to be swapped for Ukrainian servicemen nor charged with terrorist activity. All the statements that we heard from the Ukrainian side have turned out to be lies," said Dmitry Kiselyov, RIA Novosti’s director-general.

Kiselyov said Stenin was traveling in a car "while on assignment from his editors. The car was shot at point-blank range from a Ukrainian tank on a highway near Donetsk."

The Russian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday demanded an impartial probe, saying "this is yet another barbarous crime committed by the Ukrainian military and National Guard."

OSCE 'appalled'

Earlier Wednesday, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said it was "appalled" by Stenin's killing and urged Ukrainian authorities to investigate his death.

An OSCE representative on media-freedom issues, Dunja Mijatović, said, "Stenin’s death is a gruesome reminder of the ongoing and alarming situation concerning journalists’ safety in the conflict in eastern Ukraine."

She called for Ukrainian authorities to investigate all killings and attacks on members of the media in Ukraine swiftly and thoroughly.

The OSCE frequently has raised the issue of attacks against journalists in the area.

At least five others have been killed since May, including: Italian photojournalist Andrea Rocchelli and his assistant, Andrey Mironov, near Slovyansk; Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin of Russian State Television and Radio Broadcasting Co., near Luhansk; and Anatoliy Klyan of Russia’s Perviy Kanal, in the Donetsk region.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

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