MOSCOW, May 20. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia demands immediate release for journalists from the Russian LifeNews television channel detained in Ukraine, spokesman for the Russian president Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday.
“Naturally, we are continuing to demand their immediate release and are waiting for this,” Peskov said.
The Russian embassy in Ukraine still has no official information from the Kiev authorities on the fate of LifeNews journalists Oleg Sidyakin and Marat Saichenko detained on May 18 near the east Ukrainian town of Kramatorsk, Russia’s diplomatic mission in Ukraine told ITAR-TASS.
“We’re trying to find out where they are being held,” the Russian diplomatic mission said. “According to some data, they were questioned the other day.”
Under existing consular rules, the Ukrainian authorities are required to inform Russian diplomats about the fate of Russian nationals within three days after they are detained, the Russian diplomatic mission said.
Other incidents with Russian journalists in Ukraine
This is not the first case when Russian journalists were detained by Ukrainian security forces. On April 16, a camera crew from Russia’s VGTRK State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company was detained by the Ukrainian army and on April 23 journalist Stepan Chirich from Russia’s NTV television channel was rudely detained and beaten near the town of Pervomaisk in the Dnepropetrovsk Region in central Ukraine.
The Russian embassy in Ukraine demanded that such actions should be ceased immediately.
“Arbitrariness and repressions against journalists and mass media actually mean an attack on the freedom of the press,” the Russian diplomatic mission said.
The faction of the ruling United Russia party in the State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s parliament, believes that LifeNews journalists detained in Ukraine became victims of a provocation and has demanded their immediate release.
The Russian lawmakers have demanded from the Ukrainian authorities “to immediately release the captured journalists and hold responsible those who are guilty of violating the journalists’ rights to fulfill their professional duties.”
The MPs from the United Russia party have urged the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to “raise its voice in defense of the freedom of speech in Ukraine.” They also expect OSCE Media Envoy Dunja Mijatovic “to take all efforts within her mandate to ensure that such cases are not repeated again.”
Ukraine National Security Council Deputy Secretary Viktoria Syumar earlier accused the LifeNews journalists detained in Ukraine of assistance in “terrorism,” alleging that they were “a part of terrorist groups.