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RT has no information about its stringer who disappeared in Ukraine

July 24, 2014, 16:51 UTC+3 MOSCOW
On Wednesday, the reporters saw that Phillips’s car had disappeared from the place where he had left it
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© ITAR-TASS/Arseniy Neskhodov

MOSCOW, July 24. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian RT channel still has no information about the whereabouts of its stringer Graham Phillips, a British national who is freelancing for the channel in Ukraine, and has been out of touch since July 23, the RT press service said.

“We still know nothing about our stringer. There is no information and we are trying to contact Graham,” the channel told ITAR-TASS.

Phillips’s colleague said that on Tuesday night a group of four reporters decided to head for Donetsk’s airport. Phillips and a reporter from the Anna News independent news portal went towards the airport buildings while the other two were waiting for them at some distance.

Soon the Anna-News man said that they had been detained.

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“We received a call from Graham’s mobile phone and Vadim (the Anna-News reporter) said that Graham was in the hands of the (Ukrainian) anti-terror servicemen and asked to take him out of there,” the reporter said.

On Wednesday, the reporters saw that Phillips’s car had disappeared from the place where he had left it. Local residents said that a man who looked like Phillips drove off in it but the journalists say the source is not reliable.

On July 23, the Russian Foreign Ministry urged an immediate release of reporters working for the Russian RT television and Anna News agency.

“A new encroachment on the freedom of mass media has taken place in Ukraine,” the ministry said.

“Overnight from July 22 to July 23, four reporters, including Graham Phillips, a freelancer for the Russia Today channel who is a British national, and a cameraman for the Anna News agency disappeared in the area of combat actions in Ukraine’s east,” it said adding that “they are believed to have been taken captive by the Ukrainian military.”

“A new provocation of the Ukrainian authorities in regard to independent international journalists testifies to the fact that the campaign launched by official Kiev against those media which doing their duty, raised voices in reliable reports about a real state of things in Ukraine’s east, about civilians of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions who fell victim to the punitive operation carried out by the Ukrainian military,” it said.

“As the saying goes, ‘nothing stings like the truth’ and Kiev fears it,” the ministry said. “But truth cannot be hidden, thanks to the efforts of journalists who speak it out openly unlike the ‘fable writers’ scribbling contract articles in the Ukrainian army’s bunkers.”

In May Graham Phillips was detained in the south-eastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol by the country's National Guard and the channel had no contact with him, either. Only 35 hours later, the Briton was set free and reported that the Ukrainian servicemen had driven him to the south-eastern city of Zaporozhye to interview about his work for RT.

Graham Phillips has been reporting about the developments in Ukraine in recent months.

According to the Brandwatch social media monitoring and analytics platform, Phillips has become the most popular author in Twitter among the authors of posts about the situation in Ukraine.

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