A Lithuanian documentary filmmaker has been killed in the besieged southern city of Mariupol, according to his colleagues and the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s news agency.
The agency said on Sunday that award-winning filmmaker Mantas Kvedaravicius was killed in an attack by Russia “as he tried to leave Mariupol”.
Lithuanian news agency 15min reported that Mr Kvedaravicius was rushed to hospital but could not be saved. Reports cannot be independently confirmed.
Mr. Kvedaravicius, 45, had spent years covering the conflict in Ukraine. His film “Mariupolis”, which premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2016, offers a gripping portrait of the southern port city, which battled Russian-backed fighters in 2014.
In a 2016 interview with Odessa Review, a monthly magazine, Kvedaravicius said he wanted to capture “how ordinary people go about their daily lives a few steps from a war zone, gunfire, explosions and death”.
“The factories, the sea, the ubiquitous soldiers, the sounds of the violin mingling with the sound of exploding shells – all this forms the surrealism of an ordinary city in wartime,” he told the Odessa review. .
Since the Russian invasion, Mariupol has become the emblem of the humanitarian crisis sweeping Ukraine. Weeks of Russian bombardment of the city have trapped thousands of civilians with limited access to food, water and electricity.
In 2011, Mr. Kvedaravicius received the Amnesty International Film Prize for “Barzakh”, his film about Russia’s war in Chechnya.
As news of Mr Kvedaravicius’ death circulated on Sunday, other filmmakers and journalists posted messages of mourning and condolences on social media.
“RIP dear talented Mantas. A terrible loss for the Lithuanian film community and for the whole world,” wrote Giedre Zickyte, another Lithuanian documentary filmmaker and producer, on Facebook. “Our hearts are broken.”
Vitaly Mansky, a Russian director, wrote that Mr Kvdaravicuis was killed “with a camera in his hands” while working to document an “evil war, against the whole world”.
News of Mr Kvdaravicius’ death came after the death of a prominent Ukrainian photojournalist filmmaker, Maks Levin, whose body was found near the capital kyiv on Saturday, according to Ukraine’s prosecutor general’s office.