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Kiev frees British journalist working for Russian TV

22 may 2014, 14:59
0
Graham Phillips. Photo courtesy of themoscowtimes.com
Graham Phillips. Photo courtesy of themoscowtimes.com

A British journalist has been released without charge after being detained by Ukrainian authorities, AFP reports according to the Russian TV channel employing him, RT.

"An RT journalist reporting from Ukraine, Graham Phillips, was released after almost 36 hours of detention by various Kiev security forces," the channel said on its website.

Phillips, who was working for Kremlin-funded RT, formerly known as Russia Today, as a freelancer, wrote on Twitter that he did not face any charges or deportation.

"All my work in order, no charges, no deportation, no one laid a hand on me in anger, Ukrainian authorities treated me fairly. All ok," he wrote.

Phillips said he was detained by Ukrainian soldiers after taking photographs and asking questions at a checkpoint on Tuesday in the southeastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol.

"They saw that I worked for RT and things escalated after that and got more serious," he said in a televised interview with RT after his release.

A spokeswoman for Ukraine's SBU security service had earlier confirmed to AFP that Phillips was being held.

Phillips told RT he spent Tuesday night under armed guard and was questioned at length on his reporting before being taken to Kiev and released.

Amid an intense media war over the crisis in Ukraine, authorities in Kiev have denied entry to some Russian journalists trying to enter the country.

Two reporters of Russian website Life News were reportedly arrested by Ukrainian troops near the city of Kramatorsk, prompting a furious reaction from Moscow and demands they be immediately released.

"I would say let's breathe a sigh of relief, if it wasn't for the Life News guys," RT chief editor Margarita Simonyan wrote on Twitter after Phillips's release.

The United States said Tuesday that Ukrainian security services had claimed the journalists were carrying anti-aircraft missiles and fake credentials.

On Wednesday, US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said "We would call on Ukrainian authorities to investigate these incidents, to release these people if they're legitimate journalists and not involved in illegal activities."

Earlier in the crisis, rebel militias in eastern Ukraine detained a number of Ukrainian and Western journalists.


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