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OSCE representative asks Ukrainian authorities to free Russian reporters

May 19, 2014, 16:49 UTC+3 19 19/5

LifeNews reporters Oleg Sidyakin and Marat Saichenko were detained by Ukrainian authorities near Kramatorsk

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©  AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic
LifeNews reporters Oleg Sidyakin and Marat Saichenko

VIENNA, May 19./ITAR-TASS/. The OSCE representative on freedom of the media, Dunja Mijatovic, has asked the Ukrainian Interior Ministry to free the Russian reporters detained near Kramatorsk, the OSCE press service has said.

In a letter addressed to Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, she expressed concern over the incident and asked authorities to release the reporters and thoroughly investigate the incident, the press service said in a statement.

LifeNews reporters Oleg Sidyakin and Marat Saichenko were detained by Ukrainian authorities near Kramatorsk. The last contact with the reporters was during the daytime on Sunday, May 18. The Ukrainian Defense Ministry confirmed that "persons who introduced themselves as reporters and Russian Federation citizens" were detained near Kramatorsk.

Mijatovic noted several Russian journalists, including reporters from Zvezda, NTV, First Channel and TVC channels, were denied entry to Ukraine. All were accredited by Ukrainian authorities for coverage of the presidential elections, she said in a statement.

The OSCE representative urged to stop frightening and interfering into work of media. “Journalists must be free to do their job without fear for their safety," she noted.

“All political leaders engaged in resolving the crisis in Ukraine need to clearly understand that violations of media freedom are unacceptable," she said.

Earlier,  Russia has demanded immediate release for journalists from Russian LifeNews television channel. “We are concerned about the fact that reporters suffer during warfare carried out with the participation of combat forces, with the use of radicals and extremists, gunmen from the (radical) Right Sector movement and other groups,” Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

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