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Russia’s Zvezda television channel urges world media outlets to help releasing reporters

June 08, 2014, 4:18 UTC+3 MOSCOW
1 pages in this article

MOSCOW, June 08, /ITAR-TASS/. Representatives of Russia’s Zvezda television channel have urged their foreign colleagues to seek the release of reporters Andrei Sushenkov and Anton Malyshev and not to allow people armed with weapons to decide what journalists can write and 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 reporters officially entered Ukraine for the purpose of covering the inauguration of Ukraine’s newly-elected President Pyotr Poroshenko, the Zvezda television channel says in its appeal.

“At 17:30 Moscow time, cameraman Andrei Sushenkov told his producer in Moscow by telephone that they were being checked at a National Guard checkpoint near Bylbvasovka and that their documents had been taken away. After that, all communication with the journalists went dead,” the Zvezda channel said in its appeal.

“Help us save our guys! The Ukrainian troops have abducted our colleagues Andrei Sushenkov and Anton Malyshev. Together, we can return them home,” the appeal published in English and Russia says.

“Since Russian television channels, including Zvezda, are banned in Ukraine, we are asking journalists around the globe and the world community to respond to our request to release our colleagues,” the staff of the Zvesda TV channel went on to say.

“Do not stay aside! Do not let people armed with weapons to decide what we can write and say. Save our guys!” the Russian TV channel’s representatives stressed.

Meanwhile, 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.

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