Lavrov urges OSCE to assist in release of Russian journalists detained by Ukrainian military

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has asked OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Didier Burkhalter over the phone to urgently use every OSCE tool for the immediate liberation of Russian journalists detained by the Ukrainian authorities in the Donetsk region. The OSCE chairperson-in-office assured Lavrov that he would rapidly do so, a source in the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry made similar demarches in the OSCE Secretariat in Vienna and the Kiev headquarters of the OSCE mission in Ukraine, Interfax reports.

The Russian Foreign Ministry will continue to insist on the soonest resolution of the Russian journalists’ situation.

Journalists of Russian television station LifeNews were detained by Ukrainian military servicemen in Kramatorsk in the evening of May 18.

The Lifenews television channel has urged the Russian Foreign Ministry to help free its reporters detained in Ukraine. “Lifenews reporters arrived in Ukraine legally and were working in compliance with international norms without violating the law. We are asking you to help liberate the Russian television channel’s correspondents,” Lifenews General Director Ashot Gabrelyanov said in a letter to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

The letter has been posted on the television channel’s website. Reports said earlier that Lifenews reporters Oleg Sidyakin and Marat Saichenko were detained at a checkpoint near Kramatorsk. The reporters have been out of contact ever since.

“Our reporters last got in touch with the editorial office at 1:50 pm Moscow time, when they were near a checkpoint on the city limits. Oleg Sidyakin managed to send out an SMS message saying that they were having big problems,” the posting says.

Coordinator of the Information Resistance group based in Kiev, Dmitry Tymchuk, said that two Russian reporters were detained by Ukrainian law enforcement people near Kramatorsk and they will be handed over to the Ukrainian law enforcement services. “These citizens had a TV camera and were filming preparations for an assault on the Ukrainian law enforcement contingent’s positions,” Tymchuk wrote on Facebook.

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