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Formal charges are not presented to Zvezda reporters detained in Ukraine - TV channel

June 08, 2014, 10:18 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The television channel says “evidently, the Security Service still does not have a clear picture of possible charges against the reporters”

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MOSCOW, June 08 /ITAR-TASS/. Formal charges have not been presented as yet to the reports of Russia’s Zvezda (Star) television channel, who were detained in Ukraine, and who are presently at the Security Service, the television channel reports on its web site on Sunday.

“This morning, a day and a half after the incident, we managed to get through on the phone to Kiev’s division of the Ukrainian Security service,” the statement reads. “The official was not ready to offer any explanations. Due to a day off, he said. ‘It is Sunday today… a day off. I cannot tell you anything special’.”

The television channel says “evidently, the Security Service still does not have a clear picture of possible charges against the reporters.”

“I heard different versions yesterday,” the official in Kiev said.

However, the most important information from the telephone conversation, the TV channel says, is that it was clear the reporters are safe.

“They are alive and well, do not worry about it, that’s what matters,” the source in Kiev said.

Meanwhile, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin does not rule out the reporters of Russia’s Zvezda TV company may be released soon. “There are reasons to hope for their soon release,” he wrote in the Twitter microblog on Sunday. Rogozin says he has information the reporters are kept now in the Kharkov region.

Reporters of Russia’s Zvezda TV channel were detained by Ukraine’s National Guard; they are accused of watching a checkpoint, a source at the National Guard said on Saturday, adding the reporters are at Ukraine’s Security Service now.

The reporters came to Ukraine to cover inauguration of president-elect, Pyotr Poroshenko. 

The National Guard says the reporters had on them documents confirming their accreditations by the Donetsk People’s Republic.

The detained are now at the Ukrainian Security Service, which will verify now the circumstances and purposes of their being next to the checkpoint.

Communication with Zvezda’s crew (cameraman Andrei Sushenkov and video engineer Anton Malyshev), which worked in Ukraine, was lost in the afternoon on June 6. The television channel says the reporters were detained not far from Slaviansk. People in black uniforms put on the reporters masks, handcuffs and kneeled them. After that, the reporters were taken somewhere. The Russian embassy in Ukraine has joined the efforts to release the reporters.

The management of the Zvezda TV channel, the presidential human rights council, the Russian and the Moscow unions of journalists and the European Commission have called for releasing the reporters.

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