A Russian national was reportedly shot by Ukraine authorities while attempting to take a selfie photo near the border of Russia and Ukraine, the Moscow Times reported Monday. Nikolai Sinitsin, a resident of Rostov-on-Don in Russia, was being treated for a gunshot wound to the chest, though Ukraine's police said it was not responsible for the shooting.
Sinitsin was reportedly spending the day in a lake town near the turbulent region of Lugansk, Ukraine with his two friends when they decided to take the selfie. A Ukrainian border patrolman shouted "Stop" and then opened fire on the three tourists. The other two were not hurt, Russian news agency Ria Novosti reported, according to the Moscow Times. The region of Lugansk has long been the site of violent disputes between Ukrainian authorities and pro-Russian separatists, though this incident appears to be the first selfie-related incident of violence.
“The state border service of Ukraine officially declares that this information [about a Russian being shot at from the Ukrainian side of the border] is utterly unfounded and is of a purely provocative nature,” the border service was cited as saying.
However, Sinitsin's mishap on the border was not the first dangerous selfie incident in Russia. One young Russian woman survived a head wound in May after she accidentally shot herself while trying to take a photo posing with a loaded pistol. In addition, two men in January died after taking a selfie with a grenade that had the pin pulled out of it.
In response to these and other highly publicized deaths, the Russian government launched a "safe selfie campaign" in early July to discourage people from trying to take high-risk photos of themselves -- such as on the top of trains or in front of wild animals, Agence-France Presse reported. A sample of posters from this campaign, often displayed in the subway and other public locations, was posted to Twitter:
— SF Planet (@sfplanet) July 24, 2015
“Before taking a selfie, everyone should think about the fact that racing after a high number of 'likes’ could lead someone on a journey to death," said Yelena Alexeyeva, an aid to the minister of the interior. "His last extreme photo could turn out to be posthumous," warned Alexeyeva.