Berlin, April 4, 2022— In response to reports that Lithuanian documentary filmmaker Mantas Kvedaravičius was killed in the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement, calling for those responsible to face justice:
“We extend our deep condolences to the friends and family of Mantas Kvedaravičius, who was killed while reporting from Mariupol, a city he had documented for years. His killers must be brought to justice,” said CPJ Program Director Carlos Martinez de la Serna, in New York. “Kvedaravičius is at least the seventh journalist killed since Russia invaded Ukraine. Russian and Ukrainian authorities must bring those responsible to justice, and guarantee the safety of members of the press covering this conflict.”
On Saturday, April 2, Kvedaravičius was killed while attempting to leave Mariupol, according to news reports, social media posts by his friends and colleagues, and a statement by Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense.
Director Vitaliy Manski wrote on Facebook that Kvedaravičius was killed “with a camera in his hand.” According to those news reports, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda issued a statement saying that Kvedaravičius “until the very last moment, in spite of danger, worked in Russia-occupied Ukraine.”
The defense ministry’s statement alleged that Russian forces had killed Kvedaravičius. The Lithuanian prosecutor’s office said that it plans to investigate Kvedaravičius’ killing as part of a larger investigation into Russian war crimes in Ukraine, according to news reports.
CPJ was unable to immediately determine the circumstances of his death.
Russian forces have repeatedly harassed people attempting to flee Mariupol, where at least 5,000 civilians have been killed since the start of the war, according to news reports.
Kvedaravicius’ documentary film “Mariupolis,” about the southeastern Ukrainian port city, was shown at the 2016 Berlin International Film Festival. His 2011 film “Barzakh,” based in Chechnya, was awarded the Amnesty International Film Prize.