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Journalist Killed Near Luhansk, UN Tells ICP to Ask UNESCO

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 17, more here -- After the killing of journalist Igor Kornelyuk by Ukrainian mortar shelling near Luhansk, Inner City Press on June 17 asked UN deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq for the UN's comment.

  Haq said he hadn't heard of it, to check with UNESCO. But the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe already spoke on it, calling on Kyiv to investigate.

  This is a pattern. On June 16 Inner City Press asked Haq why Secretary General Ban Ki-moon hadn't yet issued at least a boilerplate condemnation of the attack on the Russian embassy in Kyiv, Haq pointed at Ban's statement on the shot down plane.

  Only a full 24 hours later, after more complaints, did Haq say at the June 17 noon briefing that Ban had spoken on the embassy attack.  Now, the US State Department through its spokesperson has expressed condolences for the killed journalist the UN's declined comment on. NOW will Ban belatedly comment?

  UNESCO, we note, is run by a candidate to replace Ban Ki-moon as UN Secretary General.

As Inner City Press reported on June 15, journalists Evgeny Davydov and Nikita Konashenkov were detained by Ukraine's National Guard at the Dnepropetrovsk airport in the Donetsky region, in what is becoming a pattern, on June 14. 

 In this they are at least luckier than Italian journalist Andrea Rocchelli and his interpreter Andrey Mironov, both killed in May in the run up to the election.

  With the UN Security Council yet to issue its usual boilerplate press statement citing the Vienna Convention after the attack on Russia's embassy in Kyiv, any statement on the detention of these journalists seem even more UNlikely.

  When the UN Security Council met after the election, Lithuania's Ambassador cited the killed young Italian journalist without mentioning (Russian) Mironov, nor that authorities killed both of them. While others might take this approach, at the UN the Free UN Coalition for Access says journalists are journalists, just as civilians are civilians.

  On that, it's similar to the reaction of some to Ukraine's air force bombing Luhansk, click here for more on that.

    Back on May 25 amid voting in Ukraine, Italian journalist Andrea Rocchelli and his interpreter Andrey Mironov were found dead near the village of Andreevka outside Slavyansk on May 25.

  Rocchelli had been taking photographs, for example of children seeking protection from shelling in a basement in Slavyansk's Cherevkovka neighborhood.

  Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini confirmed the deaths; another photographer who was traveling with Rocchelli and Mironov said they were hit by mortar fire as they were taking shelter in a roadside ditch; it's reported the journalists came under shelling from Ukrainian troops late on May 24.

   If this happened say in Syria, what would the reaction be? What will the reaction be now?

  On May 23 when Ukraine's Permanent Representative to the UN Yuriy Sergeyev held a press conference two days before the elections, Inner City Press began by asking him why chocolate magnate Petro Poroshenko had not agreed to participate in debates. (On May 25, Poroshenko is pictured voting, here.)

  Sergeyev replied that he understands Poroshenko would, if there is a second round.

  Then Inner City Press asked Sergeyev about the “UN” painted helicopters shown by LifeNews as being in Ukraine, and about the two LifeNews journalists then detained.

  Sergeyev said he contacted his government's defense department and was assured that helicopters that serve for pay in UN peacekeeping mission returned painted white but with the UN insignia “erased.” He said the filming was not in Ukraine.

  Inner City Press asked if it was in a UN peacekeeping mission why the soldiers around the copter were in camouflage and not UN blue helmets. This has not been answered.

  On the LifeNews journalists, Sergeyev said they had confessed to not being “pure journalists” and had revealed Ukraine military positions.

  Inner City Press asked if that wasn't always a possible charge of war reporters. It might also be asked which others detained while engaged in acts of journalism, sometimes, are not “pure journalists.”

  The Free UN Coalition for Access supports these journalists and continued to ask about their fate, as it asked the UN's Ivan Simonovic in late May.

  The two were later released, and have said they were held with sacks over their heads, arms and legs tied.

  On a second round of questions on May 23, Inner City Press asked about the four or five investigations of the May 2 murders in Odessa that Simonovic had described. Sergeyev said Simonovic must have been referring to four or five versions of events, because there are only Ukrainian investigations.

  Inner City Press at the day's noon briefing asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric how many investigations of Odessa there are, and if one involving the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons is being considered.

  And so far from the UN, nothing on the detention of journalists Evgeny Davydov and Nikita Konashenkov. Watch this site.


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