MOSCOW, August 19 (RIA Novosti) - Vera Stenina, mother of a Rossiya Segodnya journalist who went missing in southern Ukraine, told RIA Novosti Tuesday that she had asked the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for help.
Since August 5, colleagues have been unable to reach Andrei Stenin, who had been working in eastern Ukraine. Sources reported that the photographer had been detained by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) in Zaporizhia Region in southern Ukraine, a claim later denied by Kiev.
"We went to the International Red Cross, there we made our request. We were told that before we arrived they had contacted their Ukrainian colleagues in Kiev, requested [information]... They promised that they would try to do something, but so far no results," Vera Stenina said.
Stenina was also summoned to the Russian Investigative Committee.
"A criminal case has already been opened, and I was recognized as a victim," the journalist's mother said.
Vera Stenina stressed that she wants to do everything in her power to find her son.
On August 9, Rossiya Segodnya filed a request with the Ukrainian Interior Ministry to take immediate action to locate the photographer. The request was entered into the register of pre-trial investigations on August 11.
A day later, Anton Gerashchenko, an aide to the Ukrainian interior minister, said in an interview with Baltkom radio that Stenin had been arrested by the SBU on charges of assisting terrorists.
Later Gerashchenko claimed he was misinterpreted, saying he only assumed the photographer had been detained but knew no precise information. Baltkom said it had a recording of Gerashchenko’s interview and provided it to Rossiya Segodnya.
Russia has already filed two diplomatic notes to Ukraine over Stenin’s case urging Kiev to comment on Herashchenko’s statement.
On August 15, Russia’s human rights ombudsman Ella Pamfilova said her Ukrainian counterpart Valeriya Lutkovska had formally requested Ukraine’s law enforcement bodies help locate the missing Rossiya Segodnya photographer, but so far to no avail.
On August 18, the National Press Club raised concern over the safety of the Russian photographer and urged all parties in the ongoing conflict to respect the essential right of journalists to go about their work without harassment and without fearing for their safety.
Please support Andrei Stenin’s release by sharing the hashtag #FreeAndrew in social networks. Andrei is a professional war photographer reporting from the most dangerous war zones in the world. You can view Andrei’s pictures from Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Libya here and his most recent shots from eastern Ukraine here.