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FM confirms journalist Kochneva returns to Ukraine

March 18, 2013, 16:16 UTC+3

Anhar Kochneva was abducted near the Syrian city of Homs in October 2012 and escaped after 153 days of custody

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KIEV, March 18 (Itar-Tass) – The Foreign Ministry confirmed that journalist Anhar Kochneva, who was abducted near the Syrian city of Homs in October 2012 and escaped after 153 days of custody, had returned to Ukraine.

“Anhar Kochneva returned to Ukraine on March 17. When she arrived at the Borispol airport she was contributed to accommodate in Kiev. Her condition is satisfactory,” the ministry’s press service reported.

When Kochneva was abducted in October 2012 “the Ukrainian authorities took measures to release the journalist”, the press service said.

The journalist is not planning to hold a press conference, it added.

Kochneva plans to publish a diary upon her arrival in Kiev next week.

Appearing on air of the Arab-language version of the television channel Russia Today, she said she had planned her escape for quite a time. “I began to develop health problems. I lost more than 20 kilograms. Apart from that, I had eye problems,” she said. In her words, she was kept in a locality, from where rebels were shelling the Syrian army and the latter was striking back. “My chances were scarce: either to simply die or to be killed in exchange of fire or by bandits,” she stressed. She said she had ventured to go outside early in the morning when the gunmen were sleeping.

“I thought, if I meet a person who will lend whatever credence to me, I will ask this person for help. Maybe, I will promise him or her some money to have me hidden until I get in touch, say, with the Ukrainian embassy or with my friends in Syria and a special operation is organized to save me,” she noted. Luckily, the people she had encountered helped her to reach a territory under control of regular troops.

Kochneva told journalists in Damascus that she planned to arrive in Kiev in a week, and to visit Moscow. She plans to call a news conference and publish her diary highlighting her adventures in Syria. After receiving a passport in Kiev, she will go to Moscow, where her child is living.

“I will continue my work. I must draw people’s attention to what is going on in Syria,” she emphasized.


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