MOSCOW, June 08, /ITAR-TASS/. Konstantin Dolgov, the Russian Foreign Ministry Ombudsman for Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law, said on Saturday that the capture of two Russian journalists of the Zvezda television channel in Ukraine was a gross violation of freedom of speech and media.
“The Kiev authorities should immediately release the journalists of the Zvezda television channel. It is necessary to stop the unlawful seizures of Russian journalists,” Dolgov tweeted in his blog.
He called for introducing personal responsibility for journalists’ seizures and solidarity in exerting international pressure on the authorities in Kiev.
“We will continue using all diplomatic channels, such as the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), to ensure that our journalists returned home safe and sound,” Dolgov went on to say.
Ukraine’s National Guard detained Zvezda’s cameraman Andrei Sushenkov and sound engineer Anton Malyshev near the Bylbasovka populated locality near Slavyansk on June 6.
The Ukrainian authorities have not yet given any explanations why the journalists were detained.
“An end to the punitive operation in the southeast of Ukraine and the release of Russian journalists will be the first tests for (Ukrainian President) Pyotr Poroshenko’s commitment to democracy,” Dolgov wrote.
Earlier on Saturday, he confirmed that the Russian embassy in Kiev had joined efforts to release the journalists and had sent an appropriate letter and inquiry to the OSCE.
The Zvezda television channel has also sent an inquiry to Ukraine’s Security Service with an aim to know the reason for the reporters' detention.
The Russian authorities, the European Commission, the journalistic community and human rights activists have demanded an immediate release of Andrei Sushenkov and Anton Malyshev.