The death of a Russian journalist in Ukraine was “a heinous, premeditated crime” committed by Western powers and Kyiv, Russia’s foreign ministry said Saturday, vowing a “response” against those to blame.
Earlier the Russian military announced that Rostislav Zhuravlev, a war correspondent working for the state RIA Novosti news agency, had been killed in a Ukrainian strike in the southern Zaporizhzhia region on Saturday.
The agency also reported his death, saying he was killed near the frontline village of Pytikhatki.
“As a result of a strike by the Ukrainian army using cluster munitions, four journalists were wounded in various levels of severity,” the Russian army said in a statement.
“During an evacuation, the RIA Novosti journalist Rostislav Zhuravlev died from his wounds that resulted from the cluster munitions exploding.”
Three other journalists were said to be stable in hospital after the attack.
“Everything indicates that the attack on the group of journalists was not carried out by chance,” the Russian foreign ministry said.
“The competent international organisations prefer, as before in such cases, to turn a blind eye to this heinous crime”, it added.
According to the ministry, “the journalists were gathering material for a report on the bombing by the Kyiv regime militants of settlements in the Zaporizhzhia region using cluster munitions banned in many countries around the world”.
It accused the United States of having delivered the weapons to the Ukrainian army.
The White House has said that Ukrainian forces are using United States-supplied cluster munitions on the battlefield, as Kyiv seeks momentum in its grinding counteroffensive.
The weapons, which disperse up to several hundred small explosive charges that can remain unexploded in the ground, are banned by many countries because of the long-term risks they pose to civilians.
“The perpetrators of the brutal massacre of the Russian journalist will inevitably receive the punishment they deserve,” the Russian foreign minister warned, adding that “those who supplied cluster munitions to their proteges in Kyiv will also share the full measure of responsibility”.
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