BBC crew attacked by unidentified people in southern Russia

BBC crew attacked by unidentified people in southern Russia
A BBC crew has been attacked by persons as yet unknown in Astrakhan in southern Russia. Their equipment was damaged and the broadcaster has launched a formal complaint to the Russian authorities.

When the group left the café, where they had stopped for lunch and approached their vehicle, they “were confronted and attacked by at least three aggressive individuals,” wrote Steven Rosenberg, the BBC’s Moscow correspondent.

“Our cameraman was knocked to the ground and beaten,” he added.

According to Rosenberg, the attackers “grabbed the BBC camera, smashed it on the road and took it away in their getaway car.”

Then the group spent more than “four hours at the police station being questioned by investigators,” he added.

After returning from police authorities, the group found that the recorded material left in the car had been deleted.

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“The hard drive of our main computer and several memory cards had been wiped clean,” wrote Rosenberg.

The group was investigating reports of alleged Russian servicemen being killed near the Russian-Ukrainian border.

The southern Russian city of Astrakhan is located nearly 1,000 km from the city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, where hostilities have been taking place.

The BBC crew is now safe in Moscow.

According to the press office of Astrakhan region’s interior ministry, the authorities have opened "a criminal case" after police received a report of an attack on a cameraman who had been "beaten and robbed by unidentified persons."

In the meantime, the BBC has lodged a formal protest with the Russian government concerning the incident.