Mantas Kvedaravicius died in the besieged city of Mariupol yesterday, the documentarian spent years documenting his city and won awards for his work previously
Image: Mantas Kvedaravicius/Instagram)
A film director who was educated in the UK has been killed in Mariupol.
Mantas Kvedaravicius died yesterday in the besieged city whose fate he had spent years documenting.
The Lithuanian film director’s death was confirmed by the Ukrainian Defence Minister and a colleague.
A Lithuanian news agency, 15min, reported that Mr Kvedaravicius was rushed to a hospital but could not be saved.
The ministry’s information agency tweeting today: “While (he was) trying to leave Mariupol, Russian occupiers killed Lithuanian director Mantas Kvedaravicius”.
Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said: “We lost a creator well known in Lithuania and in the whole world who, until the very last moment, in spite of danger, worked in Russia-occupied Ukraine.”
The 45-year-old was best known for his conflict-zone documentary Mariupolis, which premiered in 2016 at the Berlin International Film Festival.
It showed a city, a strategic port in a mostly Russian-speaking part of eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists have clashed with Ukrainian forces since 2014.
Mariupol was one of the main targets of Russia ’s invasion when it began on February 24.
The city has spent weeks being bombed and reduced to rubble, with tens of thousands still trapped.
“Mantas Kvedaravicius, was murdered today in Mariupol, with a camera in his hands, in this s***** war of evil, against the whole world,” Russian film director Vitaly Mansky, founder of the Artdocfest arts festival in which Kvedaravicius was a participant, said on Facebook.
Kvedaravicius also won an award for his 2011 film ‘Barzakh’ which was shot in the Russian region of Chechnya, where the country fought two wars to put down rebellions between 1994 and 2009.
Julia Duchrow, deputy secretary general of Amnesty International in Germany, said: “The audience was taken into the villages, into the lives and souls of the people.
“Mantas Kvedaravicius has shown great courage for this: The film was shot without permission and at great personal risk.
“This courage, this unconditional will to show human rights violations and make them accessible to the public, distinguished Mantas Kvedaravicius.”
Inside the terrorised city of Mariupol, civilians are almost entirely without food, water and electricity as temperatures plummet below zero at night.
Many are unable to leave their shelters due to the ongoing Russian missile strikes and shelling and loved ones cannot let their family and friends outside know they’re still alive.
The city has seen some of the worst Russian atrocities including the bombing of a maternity and children’s hospital, and of a theatre where thousands of innocents were sheltering.
Mariupol’s residents even wrote ‘children’ in Russian outside the theatre in hope Putin’s forces would not attack it.