Putin, Ukraine president discuss possible ceasefire: Kremlin

Pro-Russian armed militiamen take up positions on a secondary road between Kramatorsk and Slavyansk, on June 11, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
Pro-Russian armed militiamen take up positions on a secondary road between Kramatorsk and Slavyansk, on June 11, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

MOSCOW (AFP) - President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko discussed a possible ceasefire, the Kremlin said on Tuesday, after a second member of a Russian television crew was confirmed to have died in the east of the ex-Soviet state.

“The issue of possible ceasefire in the area of a military operation in Ukraine’s south-east has been touched upon,” the Kremlin said after the talks.

Mr Putin expressed concern over the deaths of the two Russian media workers and stressed the importance of ensuring safety of reporters working in Ukraine, the Kremlin said.

“Petro Poroshenko expressed condolences over the deaths of Russian media representatives and assured the Russian president that a relevant investigation would be conducted following his order,” Mr Putin’s office said.

The pro-Western Ukrainian leader also vowed to take necessary measures to protect reporters covering the conflict, the Kremlin added.

Earlier Tuesday, the All-Russian State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company, known by its acronym VGTRK, said one of journalists, Igor Kornelyuk, was killed after being caught up in a mortar attack near the city of Lugansk.

Later the state company confirmed the death of another of its employees, sound technician Anton Voloshin, who had earlier been considered missing.

Mr Voloshin’s body was found by Ukrainian rebels at the site of the attack and identified by his colleague, a cameraman who was filming the attack but escaped uninjured, Russian television said.

Mr Kornelyuk died of his injuries in a local hospital. The bodies of the two would be handed over to their relatives on Wednesday.Kornelyuk and Voloshin became the first Russian media employees to die while covering the Ukraine crisis.

Their deaths brings to five the number of journalists killed in Ukraine since the start of the year, according to Reporters Without Borders.

More than 200 have been injured or attacked.