Yatsina, a photographer with the Russian news agency ITAR-TASS, was killed in Chechnya by Chechen militants who had taken him hostage. Two former hostages, Alisher Orazaliyev from Kazakhstan, and Kirill Perchenko from Moscow, reported the killing in statements recorded by Amnesty International after their release at the end of February.
According to their accounts, Yatsina was suffering from food poisoning and foot pain and fell behind the other hostages during a forced march from the town of Urus-Martan to the mountains of Shatoi. The Chechen guards then shot him dead. Orazaliyev and Perchenko saw his body the next day when they returned along the same road.
Yatsina was kidnapped in the Ingush capital, Nazran, on July 19, 1999. A month later, the kidnappers contacted his family and demanded a ransom of US$2 million. In November, the kidnappers contacted ITAR-TASS and demanded the same amount.
Orazaliyev and Perchenko said the kidnappers were a well-organized group of around 70 Chechens. They believed their capture was motivated by the hope of economic gain.
Kidnapping has become a major source of financing for criminals and militant groups in Chechnya. As a result, hundreds of civilians have been held captive over the last four years.
Yatsina, 51 joined ITAR-TASS in 1979.