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Russian journalist Andrei Stenin killed in Eastern Ukraine

AP Photo/ITAR-TASS, Mikhail Pochuyev

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) have repeated their plea for all sides in Ukraine to respect the rights of journalists and ensure they are not intimidated or harmed following reports that Russian journalist, Andrei Stenin, has been found dead.

Stenin, who worked for Russia's state-run news agency, RIA Novosti, which is part of the Rossiya Segodnya holding, went missing in eastern Ukraine in August where he was working on a photo assignment.

Reports at the time said he was being held by an unknown group, with RIA Novosti citing an unidentified source that he had been taken by Ukrainian security services. Russian authorities opened a probe in mid-August into his disappearance.

However, it has now emerged that he has been dead for over a month. According to his agency, his car was found yesterday, Tuesday 2 September, burnt out and with bullet holes on a road close to Donetsk.

“We condemn the appalling murder of the journalist Andrei Stenin and we call on Ukrainian authorities to carry out an immediate and thorough investigation to determine the circumstances of this case,” said IFJ President Jim Boumelha.

“Andrei was not a soldier, he was a journalist, free to move and report without fear of attack. Those responsible must answer for this crime. “We reiterate our call for all sides involved in this conflict to respect the freedoms of journalists and to ensure their rights, as determined by international law, are upheld at all times.”

Stenin's murder brings the number of journalists killed in Ukraine this year to seven. There have also been numerous reports of journalists being intimidated, harassed, injured and detained, while media organisations have been repeatedly attacked and raided.

“The situation for media workers and journalists reporting in Ukraine remains precarious,” said EFJ President Mogens Blicher Bjerregård. “We advise all journalist covering events in the country to remain mindful of their safety at all times.”

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