Russia Slams Ukraine Over Reporter’s Death as Tensions Rise

Russia condemned Ukraine over the death of a state-television reporter killed by mortar fire in the violence-torn east of the country, adding to tension between the two neighbors.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said there are people who are “guilty” for the death of Igor Kornelyuk, a correspondent for Russian State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company, near Luhansk today, and the fate of his missing colleague. Sound producer Anton Voloshin was found dead later, the Interfax news service reported, citing separatist forces.

“Those who call themselves the authorities in neighboring Ukraine answer for the situation there and it’s in their power to halt the bloodshed,” Medvedev said on his Facebook account.

Ukraine has been battling separatists in two eastern regions for almost three months after Russia annexed Crimea in March. It accuses the Kremlin of stoking pro-Russian unrest by supplying weapons, military vehicles and mercenaries. The neighbors are also in conflict over gas. Russia cut off supplies yesterday because of the failure to reach a deal on price. Russia denies aiding the insurgents and is calling on Ukraine to halt its offensive.

Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko ordered law enforcement officials to make an accurate investigation of Kornelyuk’s death. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which has tried to broker a peace plan, had also called for a probe of the incident. Poroshenko offered condolences to Kornelyuk’s family and friends.

The reporter’s death came three days after an attack by protesters on the Russian embassy in Kiev following the shooting down of a Ukrainian military plane by the rebels, killing all 49 people on board.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said the Ukrainian military fired a mortar shell in an area with no military targets, demanding that those responsible for Kornelyuk’s death be punished, according to a statement on its website today.

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