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Ukrainian administration ignores OSCE appeals to release LifeNews journalists

May 20, 2014, 15:48 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Director General of LifeNews television said the Ukrainian authorities are hiding the journalists from public eye, their physical condition is unknown, and they are not allowed to contact relatives

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©  AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic

MOSCOW, May 20./ITAR-TASS/. The Ukranian authorities have taken no measures to help release LIfeNews journalists despite the OSCE appeals, Director General of LifeNews television Ashot Gabrelyanov told ITAR-TASS on Tuesday.

The LifeNews chief has confirmed reports that the journalists were brought to the building of the Ukrainian Security Service in Kiev where they are being interrogated. "I have attempted to analyze the situation, and the conclusion is that the Kiev administration has not reacted to the OSCE criticism and taken no measures for their release,” Gabrelyanov said.

On May 19 OSCE media freedom representative Dunya Miyatovic appealed to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, asking to release the Russian journalists detained near Kramatorsk. In a letter addressed to Ukrainian Acting Interior ministry chief Arsen Avakov the OSCE representative expressed concern over the incident and asked to release the journalists and conduct a thorough investigation into the incident, the OSCE press service said.

For his part, Gabrelyanov said he feared that the journalists were being forced into confessing to terrorist activities and were being accused of smuggling weapons to Ukraine with no official accusations against them made. The Ukrainian authorities are hiding the journalists from public eye, their physical condition is unknown, and they are not allowed to contact their relatives or meet public observers, he said.

On May 19 the LifeNews launched a campaign in support of the missing journalists, asking visitors to social websites to make an entry with the hash tag "Save our Guys", which dozens thousands of the visitors already did. The campaign will be continued until the journalists are released, the LifeNews chief said.

The LifeNews journalists, Oleg Sidyakin and Marat Saychenko, were detained by the Ukrainian law enforcers near Kramatorsk. The journalists had last contacted their colleagues at LifeNews on May 18. The day before Deputy secretary of the Ukrainian National Security Council Viktoria Syumar accused the Russian journalists of provoking the spread of terrorism in the Donetsk region.

“All available instruments” have been used for their release, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters earlier on Tuesday, commenting on the situation in respect to the LifeNews journalists. “All the necessary measures have been taken by the Foreign Ministry, which employed the mechanisms of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), all the demarches needed for the journalists' release have been staged, and public organisations have been used through ombudsmen on a bilateral level, ” Peskov said.

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