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Driver killed, two Reuters journalists wounded in separatist-held eastern Ukraine

News agency says reporters were traveling to Severodonetsk in vehicle provided by Russian-backed separatists and were lightly wounded

Smoke and dirt rise in the city of Severodonetsk during fighting between Ukrainian and Russian troops in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas on June 2, 2022. (Aris Messinis/AFP)
Smoke and dirt rise in the city of Severodonetsk during fighting between Ukrainian and Russian troops in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas on June 2, 2022. (Aris Messinis/AFP)

LONDON — A driver transporting two Reuters journalists in eastern Ukraine on Friday was killed and the two international news agency reporters lightly wounded, a company spokesperson said.

“Two Reuters journalists sustained minor injuries when they came under fire while en route to Severodonetsk,” a statement from the agency said.

“They were traveling in a vehicle provided by the Russian-backed separatists and driven by an individual assigned by the separatists. The driver of the vehicle was killed.

“Reuters extends its deepest sympathies to the family of the driver for their loss.”

The agency did not provide any further details.

On Monday, French journalist Frederic Leclerc-Imhoff was killed in eastern Ukraine while on board a humanitarian bus with civilians fleeing Russian bombardment. He worked for the French BFM television news channel.

Ukrainian servicemen stand in the city of Lysychansk in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas on May 30, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Aris Messinis/AFP)

He was near Severodonetsk, which has been pounded by advancing Russian troops in recent weeks.

Reporters Without Borders, an international media advocacy group, says at least eight journalists have been killed while reporting on the Ukraine conflict since the start of Russia’s invasion in late February.

The chief of the United Nations cultural body UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, on Monday condemned the killing of Leclerc-Imhoff and called for journalists working in conflict zones to be protected in line with past UN Security Council resolutions.

“Journalists who work tirelessly in Ukraine to inform us about the reality of war must be protected from attack,” she said.

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