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Russia launches criminal probe into death of journalist in Ukraine

Russia launches criminal probe into death of journalist in Ukraine


Defence ministry previously blamed Ukraine of cluster munitions usage

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's Investigative Committee said that it had launched a criminal probe into the killing of a Russian war reporter, an incident the country's defence ministry previously blamed on Ukraine's use of cluster munitions.

The committee said on its website that "armed Ukrainian formations targeted and deliberately fired at a group of Russian journalists" working near Pyatikhatka, in Ukraine's southeastern Zaporizhzhia region.

It did not specify the type of weapons or munitions used, but said Rostislav Zhuravlev, a journalist for RIA state news agency, was killed.

It said his RIA colleague and journalist Konstantin Mikhalchevsky, and two employees of Izvestia newspaper, Roman Polshakov and Dmitry Shikov, were injured.

"As part of the investigation, investigators will establish all the circumstances of the crime against media representatives, as well as those involved," it said.

It said the chair of the committee was nominating Zhuravlev, "one of those journalists who always defended and informed the truth," for a medal.

Ukraine, which received supplies of cluster munitions from the United States this month, has vowed to use them only to dislodge concentrations of enemy soldiers.

Reuters could not independently verify details of the incident. Both sides have used cluster munitions during Russia's 17-month invasion of Ukraine.

The munitions are banned by many countries because they rain shrapnel over a wide area and pose a risk to civilians. Some bomblets typically fail to explode immediately, but can blow up years later.