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Russia disappointed with OSCE discussion of journalists’ detention in Ukraine

May 23, 2014, 1:44 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Russian Foreign Ministry said there is "a policy of double standards by a number of OSCE countries"
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© ITAR-TASS/Gennady Hamelyanin

MOSCOW, May 23 /ITAR-TASS/. Moscow is disappointed with the results of Thursday’s discussion of Russian journalists’ detention in Ukraine at a meeting of the Permanent Council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

“The issue was raised on Russia’s initiative. We expected a clear and unambiguous condemnation of the Kiev authorities’ inadmissible actions and a demand that the illegally held media representatives be released,” the ministry said in a statement.

“Unfortunately, this did not happen, which became the result of a policy of double standards by a number of OSCE countries,” it said.

“We believe the situation when detained journalists are denied a meeting with lawyers, consular workers and OSCE representatives is absolutely intolerable. Total obscurity causes fears of their relatives and close ones,” the ministry said.

“Such actions by those who are ruling in Kiev are a gross violation of the generally accepted norms and standards in the human rights sphere, compliance with which is guaranteed, among other things, by provisions of a number of universal and regional international treaties,” it said.

Russian journalists Oleg Sidyakin and Marat Saychenko working for the LifeNews television channel were detained by Ukrainian law enforcers near the city of Kramatorsk in the Donetsk Region in eastern Ukraine on May 18.

Victoria Siumar, a deputy head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, accused the LifeNews journalists of being “members of terrorist groups”.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said Monday that Moscow demands an immediate release of Sidyakin and Saychenko.

The situation in Ukraine is far from stable after the country saw a coup in February. New people were brought to power amid riots as security concerns caused President Viktor Yanukovich to leave the country the same month.

Massive protests against the new Ukrainian authorities erupted in Ukraine’s Russian-speaking southeastern territories after the secession of the Crimean Peninsula, which declared independence on March 11 and joined Russia on March 18 following a referendum.

Demonstrators in southeastern regions, who have been demanding the country’s federalization, seized some government buildings. Kiev has been conducting what it has dubbed “an antiterrorism operation” against pro-federalization activists. Russia has said the operation is punitive.

The eastern Ukrainian Donetsk and Lugansk regions held referendums on May 11, in which most voters supported independence from Ukraine.

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