Riga, Apr 6 (EFE).- Award-winning Lithuanian filmmaker Mantas Kvedaravicius, who died in Ukraine on April 2, was captured, shot and killed by Russian soldiers in the besieged town of Mariupol, local media reported Wednesday.
It was first reported that the Lithuanian human-rights specialized filmmaker and trained anthropologist had been killed in a rocket attack.
According to 15.min.lt, this version of events was not challenged until his remains were returned to Lithuania following what was described by his wife as a harrowing trip.
The journey back took her and her husband’s remains into Russian-occupied Donbas, then through Russia and onward to Lithuania, the news outlet reported.
While it was apparent that Kvedaravicius had not been killed in a rocket blast, the information that he was probably shot by Russian troops was not immediately made public to ensure that his body could safely be returned with his wife from the war zone.
A forensic examination of the filmmaker’s remains will be conducted in Lithuania, but the report on the Lithuanian website cites Kvedaravicius’ wife Hanna and Ukrainian witnesses as saying the filmmaker and holder of a PHD from the United Kingdom’s Cambridge University had been kidnapped by Russian soldiers and later found shot to death.
By some accounts, the kidnappers were Chechens serving under Russian command. The biography of Kvedaravicius, who was born in 1978, notes that one of his award-winning documentaries was about political conflicts in Chechnya, and his doctoral thesis at Cambridge was also about lawlessness and human rights violations in this region of Russia.
The Lithuanian filmmaker and academic had been in Mariupol some years earlier, filming a documentary “Mariupolis” about the Ukrainian port city’s historical ties with Greece.
Kvedaravicius is one of seven journalists who have died covering the Russian invasion of Ukraine, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
They include American freelance filmmaker and former New York Times contributor Brent Renaud, Irish photojournalist Pierre Zakrzewski and Ukrainian freelancer Oleksandra Kuvshynova, both working for US-based Fox News, and two Ukrainian journalists, Maks Levin and Yevhenii Sakun.EFE