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6 Feb, 2015 11:58

Russian journalists including RT crew come under fire in eastern Ukraine

Russian journalists from the ‘Rossiya’ TV channel and RT have come under fire near Debaltsevo in the Donetsk region. They were reporting on the evacuation of civilians from the conflict zone.

The RT crew of four, including correspondents Roman Kosarev and Anna Knishenko, were near a checkpoint from which a bus with Debaltsevo refugees was supposed to leave for Donetsk when they came under fire.

“The bullets were flying two or three meters from us,” said Kosarev after the attack. “The [humanitarian] column stopped and we were shot at by a sniper. We laid low.”

BREAKING: Russian journalists incl RT crew under fire in E.Ukraine http://t.co/NeURhkyvvp@Kosarev_RT@A_Knishenko_RTpic.twitter.com/g5mEIwR27X

— RT (@RT_com) February 6, 2015

“None of our crew was injured, but two anti-government forces’ fighters were wounded. Their lives are not danger,” he said.

Kosarev and Knishenko said they had to go back to the town of Uglegorsk, where it’s safer. They later went back to Donetsk.

#RT we are back in #Donetsk. Our crew came under sniper fire en route to #Debaltsevo today. We were shot at while standing at checkpoint.

— Roman Kosarev (@Kosarev_RT) February 6, 2015

Knishenko told RT by phone that she believed they had come under sniper fire.

Self-defense fighters had to open fire in response,” she said. “We are now waiting for a humanitarian convoy. Refugees find themselves in this humanitarian corridor, which the Ukrainian side seems not to respect.”

Rossiya TV channel journalists Dmitry Malyshev and Artyom Kol were with the refugees from the village of Chernukhino when fighting broke out.

"We became witnesses to the fighting which started during evacuation of civilians from the village of Chernukhino,”Rossiya TV channel correspondent Artyom Kol said, according to TASS. “We weren’t hurt, but a Chernukhino resident received a leg injury. He is now in hospital.”

The Rossiya crew later posted an Instagram image saying they were safe and sound.

Живы и здоровы. Из потерь: колесо заднее и штаны мои (порвались в хлам)))

A photo posted by artem_kol (@artem_kol) on Feb 6, 2015 at 3:48am PST

"Three people were injured during evacuation from Chernukhino," said head of the Emergency Service of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic, Sergey Ivanushkin. He claims that government troops broke the ceasefire.

On Thursday a ceasefire starting from 9 am local time (0600 GMT) on February 6 has been suggested by the Donetsk militia, in order to provide a corridor so that civilians in Debaltsevo can leave the conflict area.

The proposal for the local ceasefire was initiated by the militia, the Donetsk defense ministry representative Eduard Basurin announced on Thursday. The corridor should give people caught in the fighting in and around the town of Debaltsevo the chance to flee the area, Basurin said.

Kiev's military officials have confirmed their agreement to the ceasefire, according to Basurin.

READ MORE: Thousands of Ukrainian troops thought to be trapped in Donbass