MOSCOW, September 3 (RIA Novosti) - The news of Andrei Stenin's death has evidently exposed the dishonesty and hypocrisy of Kiev's authorities, which had proposed to swap the photojournalist from International Information News Agency Rossiya Segodnya for someone else while his charred body remained lost along the side of a highway after he was killed by the Ukrainian military in the beginning of August.
Vsevolod Bogdanov, Chairman of the Russian Union of Journalists, has called Kiev's proposal to negotiate the release of Andrei Stenin "a provocation", adding that the Ukrainian side had behaved unscrupulously by pretending it was concerned with the fate of the missing correspondent.
It should be noted that the Ukrainian mediators had demonstrated that they were willing to swap Andrei Stenin for the Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko, who was charged with aiding in the murder of Russian journalists earlier this year, implying that the Russian correspondent was alive and they were informed of his whereabouts.
"Mediators [representing] the Ukrainian side contacted our agency and suggested holding talks on swapping him, implying that Stenin is alive," emphasized Dmitry Kiselev, the Director General of Rossiya Segodnya, as cited by RIA Novosti.
Andrei Stenin was covering the dramatic events in eastern Ukraine, where he presented a comprehensive picture of the ongoing military attack being conducted by Kiev-led forces against peaceful Ukrainian civilians.
It is worth mentioning that Anton Herashenko, an adviser to the Ukrainian interior minister, claimed in an interview with Baltkom radio that Stenin had been arrested on charges of "assisting terrorists." Later, however, he backtracked, claiming that his own statement had been "misinterpreted." In an interview with the Ukrainian channel 112 Ukraine in mid-August, the official called Andrei Stenin a spy and a "terrorist accomplice", who was cold-bloodedly photographing the suffering of Ukrainian soldiers, adding that "hysteria around the name of Stenin" is irrelevant when each day sees the death of a dozen Ukrainian military servicemen. Andrei Stenin's life, noted Herashenko, was not worth more than a life of a Ukrainian soldier.
Ironically, Kiev has repeatedly demonstrated that it does not care much about the lives of its militants, who have been used as cannon fodder in eastern Ukraine since the beginning of the standoff.
Remarkably, despite accusing Andrei Stenin of committing a military crime, the Ukrainian leadership has not been entirely forthcoming with respect to the circumstances surrounding his death. However, Vladimir Markin, an official representative of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, has already exposed that the Russian journalist was killed on August 5 while driving a car in a convoy of refugees, on the road between Snezhnoye and Dmitrovka. According to Vladimir Markin, the Ukrainian army (allegedly the 79th airmobile brigade) shelled the column from a BMP-2 and a tank. More than ten vehicles transporting peaceful Ukrainian civilians were destroyed. Eyewitnesses reported that the day after the attack, Ukrainian army commanders arrived at the site of the convoy’s destruction and examined the destroyed vehicles and the bodies of the dead civilians, seizing the personal belongings of those that had been murdered. It should be noted that after the Ukrainian army had left the crime scene, the place was heavily bombed by Grad multiple launchers.
By killing peaceful Ukrainian civilians, Kiev's authorities are flagrantly violating the Geneva Conventions of 1949, which came into force in Ukraine in 1991. It includes Article 79 of the First Additional Protocol, which protects the lives of journalists working in a war zone. While expressing outrage regarding the horrific murder of an American journalist by ISIS, the Western leaders have turned a blind eye to the atrocities being committed against mass media reporters in Ukraine.
"In just a few months, Ukraine became one of the most dangerous places on Earth for journalists. Four Russian journalists have already died in this war: correspondent Igor Kornelyuk, video engineer Anton Voloshin, cameraman Anatoly Klyan, and photographer Andrei Stenin," stated Dmitry Kiselev.
"Journalists are the eyes of the citizens and the world," Andrei Stenin used to say. It seems that the Ukrainian authorities and their foreign sponsors want the truth about the Ukrainian civil war to remain unknown.