KIEV, August 12 (RIA Novosti) – Rossiya Segodnya photographer Andrei Stenin, who went missing in eastern Ukraine on August 5, has been arrested by the Ukrainian Security Service, an adviser to Ukraine’s interior minister said Tuesday.
“He [Stenin] was arrested by our security services,” Anton Herashchenko, an aide to Ukraine's minister of internal affairs, said in an interview with Baltkom radio. “We think that Andrei Stenin may be guilty of aiding terrorists.”
The advisor to the interior minister stressed, however, that he had no information on Stenin’s exact location at the moment.
The Rossiya Segodnya journalist went missing while on assignment in eastern Ukraine. An unnamed source told RIA Novosti that the photojournalist had been abducted by Ukrainian militia forces and was in the custody of Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) in the city of Zaporozhye. The SBU later denied the allegation.
On August 9, Rossiya Segodnya submitted a request to Ukraine’s Interior Ministry to take urgent measures to find Stenin. The ministry responded to the request three days later under heavy pressure from an OSCE representative for freedom of the press, saying it was looking into the case.
Stenin’s abduction is not the first incident of a media representative being detained, attacked or killed in the restive Ukrainian regions. In June, a cameraman for Russia’s Channel-1 television was fatally wounded in the stomach. Prior to the killing, a reporter and a sound engineer from Russia’s VGTRK media holding were killed in a mortar attack near Luhansk. Late May, Russian human rights activist Andrei Mironov and Italian photojournalist Andrea Rocchelli died near the city of Slaviansk.
Earlier in the day, the Russian Foreign Ministry urged the Kiev authorities to immediately take all measures necessary to locate and release Stenin, as well as to ensure safe working conditions for Russian and foreign media employees.
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.