Nikolayev was described as a ‘genius of reportage’ by colleagues for his ability to perform well under pressure. His death is already being labelled a sad loss for Ukrainian journalism.
Nikolayev was on assignment for Kiev-based daily Segodnyaand had been tasked with covering recent skirmishes between Ukrainian and pro-Russian groups in the region.
The shelling attack took place in the village of Peski, close to the rebel-held city of Donetsk. Neither sides have claimed responsibility for the attack, both claiming that the other is responsible.
Nikolayev now joins a list of at least eight media professionals who have been killed in Ukraine since conflict began in 2014. According to international charities journalists in the area have been subject to significant violations that includes abductions, lack of access and even attacks on media crews.
News of the journalists death was confirmed by the Committee for the Protection of Journalists, who announced the news in an official press statement. During the statement the CPJ also called upon Ukrainian and Russian forced to ensure that the ceasefire agreement is adhered to and that efforts are made to protect journalists working in the area.
The ceasefire, which officially began on February 15th, has been largely ignored by both sides – who have continued to fight in Eastern Ukraine. Ukraine blames Russia for supporting rebel separatists while Russia claims that Ukrainian forces are committing war crimes by acting against the ceasefire agreement.