(Reuters) – Two Reuters journalists were injured and a driver killed on Friday after the vehicle they were in came under fire while heading to the eastern Ukrainian city of Sievierodonetsk, the latest battle line in Russia’s assault on its neighbour.
Photographer Alexander Ermochenko and cameraman Pavel Klimov were travelling in a car provided by Russia-backed forces on the Russian-held part of the road between Sievierodonetsk and the town of Rubizhne, 10 km (6 miles) to the north.
Reuters could not immediately establish the identity of the driver, who had been assigned to Reuters by the separatists for the reporting trip. The Ukrainian Defence Ministry did not respond to a telephone call seeking comment on the incident.
Ermochenko and Klimov were taken to a hospital in Rubizhne where they received initial treatment, Ermochenko for a small shrapnel wound and Klimov for an arm fracture.
“Reuters extends its deepest sympathies to the family of the driver for their loss,” a Reuters spokesperson said in a statement.
In recent weeks, Russia has poured its forces into the battle for Sievierodonetsk, a small factory city in the east, which Russia must capture to achieve its stated aim of holding all of Luhansk province.
Both sides have been taking punishing losses there in a street-by-street battle that could set the trajectory for a long war of attrition. Moscow describes its presence as a “special military operation” to disarm and “denazify” Ukraine.
(Writing by Mark John; editing by Howard Goller)