A UK-trained director was killed in Mariupol.
Mantas Kvedaravicius died yesterday in the besieged city whose fate he had spent years documenting.
The death of the Lithuanian director has been confirmed by the Ukrainian Minister of Defense and a colleague.
Lithuanian news agency 15min reported that Mr Kvedaravicius was rushed to hospital but could not be saved.
The ministry’s news agency tweeted today: ‘While trying to leave Mariupol, Russian occupiers killed Lithuanian director Mantas Kvedaravicius.’
Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said: “We have lost a well-known designer in Lithuania and around the world who until the very last moment, despite the danger, worked in Russian-occupied Ukraine.”
The 45-year-old was best known for his conflict zone documentary Mariupolis, which premiered in 2016 at the Berlin International Film Festival.
It showed a town, a strategic port in a predominantly Russian-speaking part of eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists have clashed with Ukrainian forces since 2014.
Mariupol was one of the main targets of the Russian invasion when it began on February 24.
The city spent weeks being bombarded and reduced to rubble, with tens of thousands of people still trapped.
“Mantas Kvedaravicius, was murdered today in Mariupol, with a camera in his hands, in this fucking war of evil, against the whole world,” said Russian director Vitaly Mansky, founder of the Artdocfest arts festival in which Kvedaravicius was a participant, said on Facebook.
Kvedaravicius also won an award for his 2011 film ‘Barzakh’, shot in the Russian region of Chechnya, where the country fought two wars to quell rebellions between 1994 and 2009.
Julia Duchrow, Deputy Secretary General of Amnesty International in Germany, said: “The public has been taken into the villages, into people’s lives and souls.
“Mantas Kvedaravicius showed great courage for this: the film was shot without permission and at great personal risk.
“This courage, this unconditional will to show the violations of human rights and to make them accessible to the public, distinguished Mantas Kvedaravicius.”
Inside the terrorized city of Mariupol, civilians are almost entirely deprived of food, water and electricity as temperatures drop below freezing overnight.
Many are unable to leave their shelters due to ongoing Russian missile strikes and shelling, and their loved ones cannot let family and friends know they are still alive.
The city has seen some of Russia’s worst atrocities, including the bombing of a maternity and children’s hospital and a theater where thousands of innocent people were sheltering.
Mariupol residents even wrote “children” in Russian outside the theater in the hope that Putin’s forces wouldn’t attack it.