The journalists came under artillery fire by Ukrainian forces in the Donetsk Republic
The RT crew led by reporter Valentin Gorshenin were hit by rocket artillery near the town of Dokuchaevsk, in the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), on Friday.
Two cameramen, Vladimir Batalin and Viktor Miroshnikov, received shrapnel wounds, and were rushed to a local hospital. Gorshenin himself was not harmed in the shelling. One civilian was killed and two others injured in the same shelling.
The crew came under fire when they stopped at a gas station to get coffee, Gorshenin said. No actual military targets were anywhere near the location, the journalist stressed.
The gas station was apparently hit by a cluster munition, that pelted the surroundings with its sub-munitions, graphic footage captured by the crew moments after the attack shows. The injured reporters and civilians were dragged into the gas station, with one heavily injured man dying on the spot. The explosives set on fire a civilian cargo truck parked outside the station, prompting fears of a secondary explosion of its gas tank. The fire, however, was promptly put out.
The crew has been working in the combat zone since mid-March, covering the dramatic siege of Mariupol, as well as the fighting at the frontlines of the DPR.
Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered protocols were designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.
The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.