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Russian LifeNews TV channel journalists detained in Kiev

January 30, 2015, 14:28 UTC+3 MOSCOW MOSCOW January, 30. /TASS

Russia has launched a criminal case into kidnapping of LifeNews reporters in Ukraine

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© ITAR-TASS/Vyacheslav Prokofyev

MOSCOW, January 30. /TASS/. Russian journalists of LifeNews TV channel have been detained in Kiev, the director-general of the News Media holding, Aram Gabrelyanov, wrote on Friday in his Twitter microblog.

LifeNews correspondent and camera operator Yelizaveta Khramtsova and Natalia Kalysheva were detained in Kiev, because, as explained, they could know something about a bomb threat.

After a phone call to the editorial office, contact with the reporters was lost. Their whereabouts were unknown, LifeNews editorial staff said.

"We were going to make a video report to record an interview of an agrarian expert. We called a taxi to the Lev Tolstoi Square metro station. When we got into the car, two men took places near us, showed their identity cards and introduced themselves as Ukrainian Security Service officers," a LIfeNews correspondent said by telephone.

The officers said they wanted to ask some questions about what happened at the square during last minutes. They said the Security Service had received a bomb threat call.

Before losing contact with the editorial office, they said they were asked to answer questions as witnesses. They said they had seen nothing, but all the same they were taken to the main office of the Ukrainian Security Service to answer questions. They were said that a video in which they were present would be shown to them, and they were believed to know something.

Ukrainian authorities confirmed on Friday LifeNews television reporters were detained in Kiev and said the reporters would be expelled from Ukraine and barred from entering the country for five years.

An adviser to the chief of the Ukrainian Security Service, Markiyan Lubkovsky, said on his Facebook site: "I want to confirm that the Security Service of Ukraine has detained two Russian female citizens, journalists of LifeNews. They will be expelled from the territory of our state soon with a ban to enter Ukraine for the next five years," he wrote.

Russia's Investigative Committee spokesman said Russia has launched a criminal case into kidnapping of LifeNews reporters in Ukraine.

Ukrainian radicals repeatedly attempted to prevent Russian journalists from working, while police did nothing to protect reporters. LifeNews journalists were attacked directly or were faced with administrative barriers, such as passport checking by Ukrainian police, editorial staff said.

Yevgenia Zmanovskaya, who was on assignment to cover events of the Slavic March, was detained by Kiev police on November 4, 2014. LifeNews reporters were attacked by nationalists in Kiev on November 26, 2014.

Another attack happened in Kiev on January 18, during a march of peace. Attackers attempted to seize the reporters’ camera and broke the expensive equipment and beat up a reporter.

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