A mortar attack near the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk has left two Russian journalists dead, the state-run television station Rossiya 24 confirmed on Tuesday.
Igor Kornelyuk, a 37-year-old Rossiya 24 reporter, died while undergoing surgery in a nearby hospital, while sound engineer Anton Voloshin died at the scene. The two journalists were on assignment filming refugees leaving the city when the mortar fire began.
The attack, launched by the Ukrainian military against pro-Russian militants, has stirred sentiments that Kiev forces are targeting civilians. Others are decrying the dangers posed to journalists reporting on the conflict.
"This death is yet another horrid reminder that not enough is being done to protect journalists who risk their lives reporting from conflict zones in Ukraine," Dunja Mijatovic, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe's representative on freedom of the media, told CNN.
Video via RT
The eastern province of Luhansk has seen a great deal of Ukraine’s fighting. Just this past week pro-Russian rebels attacked a border guard base on Monday, and seven people were killed in an attack on a Luhansk government building on the same day. Rebels also shot down a plane carrying Ukrainian soldiers into the nearby airport on Saturday, killing all 49 military personnel and crew members onboard in the single biggest loss to Ukrainian forces during the conflict.
Separately, an explosion rocked the Trans-Siberian pipeline in the central province of Poltava today, in what some are calling a terrorist attack. The explosion came shortly after Russia's decision to cut natural gas exports to Ukraine due to a dispute over an outstanding $2 billion bill. No injuries have been reported from the attack and gas transportation to the EU has not been hampered.
Video via Youtube
Several Ukrainian officials have denounced the explosion as a terrorist attack, according to Reuters. In a statement on his website Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said, "According to local residents, they heard two big bangs just before the explosion which could indicate they were deliberate explosions."
In addition, the energy ministry said: "It is not the first attempted terrorist attack on the Ukrainian gas transportation system."
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