Thousands at memorial for Russian photographer killed in Ukraine

Thousands of mourners on Friday filed past the coffin of Russian photographer Andrei Stenin, who was killed while covering fierce fighting between government troops and pro-Russian rebels in east Ukraine.

AFP| Last Updated: Sep 05, 2014, 15:36 PM IST

Moscow: Thousands of mourners on Friday filed past the coffin of Russian photographer Andrei Stenin, who was killed while covering fierce fighting between government troops and pro-Russian rebels in east Ukraine.

Grieving relatives stood in front of wreaths at a remembrance ceremony at the Moscow headquarters of the state-owned Rossiya Segodnya (Russia Today) media group that the 33-year-old journalist was working for.

A high-ranking Kremlin official read out messages of condolence, including a decree from President Vladimir Putin awarding Stenin a posthumous honour ahead of his burial. 

Russia has demanded a complete and impartial investigation into the "barbaric killing" of Stenin who was confirmed dead Wednesday after going missing in early August.

Moscow`s Investigative Committee says that it believes Stenin was killed on the evening of August 6 when a convoy of refugees he was travelling with came under fire from Ukrainian tanks.

"I hope that those who committed this grievous crime will be punished," Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev wrote in a condolence telegram quoted by RIA-Novosti news agency. 

"Andrei had been in a lot of hotspots around the world. His profound and enlightening pictures always portrayed the suffering of people on all sides of the frontlines," the telegram said. 

Stenin had been on assignment in Ukraine since May 14 for Rossiya Segodnya, a state holding company which includes RIA-Novosti wire service and TV news channels including the English language station RT.

Stenin is the fourth Russian journalist to have been killed while working in eastern Ukraine.

His disappearance sparked a major campaign by Russian media to find and liberate him, with news broadcasts on all national channels and many websites prominently displaying "Free Andrei" banners. 

An Italian photographer and his Russian assistant were also killed in late May.