Russian reporter 'dies of wounds' in east Ukraine

Pro-Russian militants hold a Russian flag as they pose for a picture at their check-point in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk on June 15 2014

A Russian state television reporter died of his wounds after being rushed to hospital in Ukraine's restive eastern region of Lugansk, the hospital's chief doctor told AFP.

"He was unconscious when he arrived and died on his way to the operating room," Lugansk District Clinical Hospital doctor Fedir Solyanyk said by telephone.

The doctor said Igor Kornelyuk, a reporter with the Russian state media group VGTRK, received serious stomach wounds after being hit by shrapnel from what appeared to be either a mine or a grenade.

A separatist Lugansk spokesman told AFP by telephone that Kornelyuk and his sound technician, Anton Voloshin, were caught in the middle of a grenade launcher attack staged by Ukranian forces in the Russian border region.

The separatist spokesman said the fate of Voloshin and that of about 15 rebel fighters who were with the Russian television crew at the time remained unclear.

Ukrainian security officials issued no immediate comment.

Kornelyuk's death is the second confirmed fatality of a reporter in eastern Ukraine since fighting there broke out in mid-April.

Italian photographer Andrea Rocchelli and his Russian assistant Andrei Mironov were killed outside Slavyansk in the neighbouring Donetsk region in late May.