An Italian reporter and his interpreter were reportedly shot dead and a French photographer was wounded near the city of Slavyansk, in eastern Ukraine, as their car came under mortar fire.
"The injured French journalist, William Roguelon, has been taken to a local hospital where he received treatment and managed to leave the facility on his own. He described how out of nowhere their vehicle was bombarded with mortar shells," Russia Today reported.
"Before that we heard Kalashnikov shots, then the mortar shells rained down all around," Roguelon said, claiming to have heard up 60 explosions as they tried to hide in the "middle of a ditch."
Roguelon, who works as a freelance photographer, noted after the shooting, he saw his Italian colleagues lying on the ground not moving.
The Italian journalist has been identified as Andrea Rocchelli, while the interpreter is believed to be Russian national Andrey Mironov, who was holding an Italian passport. The Italian Foreign Ministry has not yet confirmed the identities, saying it was still in the process of verifying the information on the incident.
As Roguelon stressed, the mortar fire was coming from the side of Ukrainian forces.
The area around the city of Slavyansk has been gripped by violence on Saturday, a day before the scheduled presidential election. Shooting was reported in the village of Semyonovka, where a psychiatric hospital has been partly ruined in a fight between Kiev troops and self-defense forces. Witnesses said a shell hit the roof of the hospital.
As the country prepares to hold early presidential elections, a range of Russian news journalists from different outlets, including RT's Spanish and Arabic news crews, accredited to cover the upcoming vote, were denied entry to the country without explanation.