New York, August 11, 2014–The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about the safety of Andrei Stenin, Russian photojournalist for the state news agency Rossiya Segodnya (previously RIA Novosti). The agency said it had not heard from Stenin since August 5, when he was reporting on the conflict in eastern Ukraine, including from the cities of Donetsk and Sloviansk. An unnamed source cited by Rossiya Segodnya said Stenin had been abducted by Ukrainian militia and was in the custody of the Ukrainian security service (SBU) in the city of Zaporozhye. The SBU denied the allegation, according to Rossiya Segodnya.
“We call for the immediate release of Andrei Stenin,” CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said. “All parties to the conflict in Ukraine must respect the role of journalists and allow them to do their job safely and without fear of retaliation.”
Press freedom conditions in Ukraine, especially in the volatile southeastern regions, have steadily deteriorated in recent months, with journalists being detained, attacked, abducted, and killed, according to CPJ research.