As independent publication Proekt found out, Lithuanian documentary filmmaker Mantas Kvedaravičius was killed when he was trying to evacuate a group of civilians from a sieged Mariupol. “DPR” militia fighter Pavel ‘Pashtet’ Musienko could be complicit in his murder.
The filmmaker's death was reported in April. He had come to Mariupol to complete his documentary. Proekt spoke to witnesses, who recounted that on March 27, Kvedaravičius attempted to evacuate three women out of Mariupol and that one of them had a one-month-old baby. They were also accompanied by a driver.
As one of the women, Mariupol resident Angelina Sosnovskaya, told the publication, the minivan they planned to use was parked in a neighboring district, about three kilometers away on foot. Due to heavy shelling, they spent 24 hours getting there in short bursts. When they were passing the yard of a house on Bohdan Khmelnytskyi Boulevard, Kvedaravičius and the driver were detained. As it turned out, the house was the headquarters of the Russian and the “DPR” military.
The women found shelter in one of the apartments, where the inhabitants let them in. They approached the Russians several times, begging them to release the two men. Eventually, they let the driver go. He recounted that the officers had undressed him and Kvedaravičius and had looked for tattoos and traces of weapons or armored vests on their bodies until they’d found a bruise on the filmmaker's back. Sosnovskaya presumes he could have got it from carrying her bag.
Kvedaravičius never returned. The women proceeded to the minivan on their own and were met by his partner, Hanna Bilobrova. Anna went to look for Mantas and found his body on April 2 on a pile of garbage, not far from the location where he had last been seen alive.
Locals living in Khmelnytskyi Boulevard have confirmed that late in March, the section of the apartment block where the filmmaker was killed was controlled by “DPR” fighters and the Russian military. One of the fighters had the code name “Pashtet”. Proekt identified two “DPR” fighters with this code name on social media. The women who traveled with Kvedaravičius identified one of them, Pavel Musienko, from a photograph but were not sure. The journalists messaged him on Odnoklassniki (a Russian social network), but he denied participating in the battle of Mariupol. However, the spokesperson of the Lithuanian investigative authorities looking into Kvedaravičius’ murder revealed that Pavel Musienko, also known as Pashtet, “is on the investigators’ radar” and that “his complicity in Kvedaravičius’ detainment is being determined”.
Kvedaravičius was initially reported to have been killed in a shell strike on Mariupol. The version was invented for his partner to be able to transport his body home through Russia.