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‘Obviously it wasn’t me — I was somewhere else’ Russian state media correspondent accused of fatal hit-and-run in Ukraine

Source: Meduza

Ukrainian journalist Denis Kazansky has accused Alexander Sladkov, a war correspondent for the All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (VGTRK), of fatally hitting a man with his car in the Luhansk region.

According to Kazansky, local residents contacted him to tell him that Lyubov Gromova, a woman who lives in the village of Varvarivka, witnessed the accident and later disappeared. She was allegedly taken by armed men in military uniforms to an unknown location.

A screenshot from the video posted by Kazansky
Denis Kazansky’s Telegram channel

Kazansky didn’t name the person who was allegedly killed in the crash.

In the same Telegram post, Kazansky also shared a video that he claimed was shot at the site of the accident by one of Gromova’s neighbors. The clip shows a woman (presumably Gromova) standing next to what appears to be a corpse wrapped in a sheet and repeating the car’s license plate number.

“What happened?” somebody asks.

“Someone hit him. A black Toyota SUV, R042,” she says.

R042 is part of the license plate number that belongs to a black Toyota given to Sladkov as a gift on July 12 in Rostov-on-Don, according to Russian media reports. An article about his new car highlighted the fact that it was armored and thus capable of withstanding shots from sniper rifles, machine guns, and anti-tank grenade launchers. The story about the gift, which was posted on the site of VGTRK’s Rostov-on-Don branch, has been deleted, but can still be found on Google’s cache.

Denis Kazansky’s Telegram channel

Kazansky wasn’t the first person to publish the allegations against Sladkov; on July 22, another post about the hit-and-run appeared on the Telegram channel Informant Ukraine.

Alexander Sladkov himself shared Kazansky’s post along with a sarcastic video message in which he says the following:

I have to confess. They found me out. They caught me, and at the heart of this detective story is an old woman who said, "Yeah, I remember the number: P04214521480. It was a black SUV with a stain on the roof and a dented mirror.”

Alexander Sladkov’s Telegram channel

Sladkov later posted another video message. This time, he was in a swimming pool:

Well, as you can see, I’m not in prison. Obviously, I didn’t run anyone over. I was somewhere else at that time. And it’s been ages since I was in the LNR. It’s total horseshit, of course.

Meduza was unable to find any reports of traffic accidents in Varvarivka in mid-July. Neither the Luhansk regional authorities nor representatives of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic have commented publicly on the crash or on Gromova’s disappearance.

Varvarivka is located just a few kilometers north of Rubizhne, which is in Ukraine's Lysychansk-Sievierodonetsk area. The Russian Defense Ministry reported in March 2022 that the armed forces of the self-proclaimed LNR had taken control of the village on March 2 (and then reported it again on March 8). 

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