MOSCOW, August 11 (RIA Novosti) – The Berlin office of the international press freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders expressed concern Monday over the disappearance of photographer from the news agency Rossiya Segodnya, Andrei Stenin in eastern Ukraine last week (#freeAndrew).
“Of course we are deeply concerned about the disappearance of Andrei Stenin, a journalist for Rossiya Segodnya, in eastern Ukraine. We condemn any abduction or forced disappearance of journalists and media workers. So far we have no confirmed information on who is holding Andrei Stein, but we call on whoever it is to immediately and unconditionally release him and all the other news providers currently detained,” Christian Mihr, Executive Director of Reporters Without Borders Germany told RIA Novosti in a statement.
“Reporters Without Borders urges all parties to the conflict in eastern Ukraine to respect the work of journalists and to guarantee their security,” he added.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) have also issued a similar statement calling for Stenin's immediate release.
“We join our Russian affiliate, the Russian Union of Journalists (RUJ), to express our serious concern for the well-being of our colleague Andrei Stenin, IFJ President Jim Boumelha stressed.
“If he has been detained in Ukraine then we appeal for whoever is holding him to release him immediately,” Boumelha’s statement posted on the IFJ website read.
Colleagues have been unable to reach Stenin who has been working in Donetsk, Slaviansk and other eastern Ukrainian cities since August 5.
According to sources at the headquarters of the self-proclaimed People’s Republic of Donetsk, the photographer might have left for the city of Shakhtarsk with the militia’s press corps, where Right Sector militants could have detained him.
The Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) in the Zaporizhia Region may now be detaining Stenin, though a spokesman for the local SBU office denied such allegations.