UNITED NATIONS, June 17 (Xinhua) -- The UN Security Council issued a statement on Tuesday, calling for a thorough investigation into the deaths of journalists in eastern Ukraine.
"The members of the Security Council express their deepest condolences to the families of all journalists who have been killed while covering the crisis in Ukraine, including the two Russian journalists killed on June 17, and the Italian photojournalist who was killed on May 24 along with his Russian interpreter," said a statement read to the press here by Vitaly Churkin, the Russian UN ambassador who holds the rotating council presidency for June.
The Council members encouraged "a thorough investigation of all incidents of violence involving journalists," and expressed concern about "reported cases of detention and harassment of journalists covering the crisis in Ukraine," he said.
In the statement, the most powerful body of the UN also voiced support for the freedom of expression as a human right, including for members of the media, and commended journalists around the world for the important role they play, and for their commitment to the free exchange of ideas.
Ukraine has witnessed ongoing violence, especially in the eastern part of the country, characterized by growing loss of life and a deteriorating humanitarian situation.
Two Russian television journalists, Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin, were killed Tuesday in mortar fire by Ukrainian troops near the eastern city of Lugansk, stirring accusations by the Russian government and media that Kiev's troops are targeting civilians.
Last month, 30-year-old Italian photographer Andrea Rocchelli and his translator were killed when they were caught up in a fierce fighting in the rebel-held flashpoint of Slaviansk.