MOSCOW, May 12 (RIA Novosti) - Russian journalist Pavel Kanygin may have been kidnapped in eastern Ukraine's Donetsk Region, the Russian Ekho Moskvy radio station reported Monday citing a photojournalist working in the region.
Pyotr Shelomovsky told the radio station that the reporter, who works for the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, had sent him an SMS saying: "I have been abducted. Call Moscow." Kanygin could not be contacted by phone.
Novaya Gazeta Editor-in-Chief Dmitry Muratov refused to comment on the report. "We will not comment on the situation until Kanygin returns to the editorial office," he told RIA Novosti.
Since March, anti-government protests have been spreading across southeastern regions of Ukraine, where people have refused to recognize the interim government in Kiev and have called for federalization. Ukraine's new authorities, supported by radical ultra nationalist groups, launched a special operation to crack down on the protesters in mid-April, which has already led to dozens of deaths and injuries.
A freelance journalist working for RT was shot in the stomach Friday while filming in the southeastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, an area of intense clashes between federalists and military forces loyal to the incumbent government.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has repeatedly called on the international community to condemn Ukraine's violations of media freedom and violence against journalists in the country.