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Russian journalists arrested for breaking ‘Kiev’s UN-marked helicopters’ news

Ukrainian authorities, despite numerous calls, are not letting the OSCE special monitoring mission visit the detained journalists.

UN-helicopter-in-Ukraine-4Sidyakin and Saichenko were detained on Sunday soon after they released a scandalous video, which showed a UN-marked helicopter being used by the Ukrainian army in a military operation in the rebelling eastern regions.

“At our request, the OSCE mission is demanding a meeting with the journalists, but the Kiev authorities forbid them from doing,” Kelin told ITAR-TASS news agency.

Russia will continue pushing for action on the part of the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) aimed at releasing the LifeNews crew, he added.

According to the representative, the situation around journalists, Oleg Sidyakin and Marat Saichenko, “continues to deteriorate.”

“We know that they’re accused of terrorism, with other far-fetched charges being pressed against them,” he explained.

Journalists Oleg Sidyakin and Marat Saichenko

Journalists Oleg Sidyakin and Marat Saichenko

Russia intends to raise the issue of “grave violation of the rights of journalists in Ukraine” at a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council on Thursday, he stressed, adding that the “same question will be asked by delegations from other countries as well.”

Russia’s permanent mission has passed the address from the country’s National Broadcasting Association to the OSCE leadership, in which the violation against Russian journalists by Kiev’s coup-imposed government are described, Kelin said.

There are more and more concerns about the obstruction of the media in Ukraine in anticipation of the presidential election in the country on May 25, he concluded.


Sidyakin and Saichenko were detained on Sunday soon after they released a scandalous video, which showed a UN-marked helicopter being used by the Ukrainian army in a military operation in the rebelling eastern regions.

On Tuesday, RT’s contributor Graham Phillips was arrested by Ukrainian forces at a checkpoint in the city of Mariupol. He was released after almost 36 hours of detention by various Kiev security forces.

On Monday, The OSCE’s representative on freedom of the media, Dunja Mijatovic, has addressed Kiev in a letter, urging it to “stop intimidating and threatening members of the media” and release the journalists.

In the last couple of days, journalists from various Russian media outlets were also prevented from entering Ukraine, including Zvezda, NTV, Channel One and TVC channels as well as a crew from RT’s Arabic channel.

Ukrainian armed forces opened fire on the same LifeNews crew working near the city of Kramatorsk, eastern Ukraine, where fighting is ongoing between self-defense forces and Kiev’s army.

Correspondent Oleg Sidyakin used to work for LifeNews in Russia’s regions. He reported on the Volgograd terrorist acts last December. He was then sent to Ukraine to report on the political crisis in the country. He also reported from Crimea during the process of reunification with Russia.

While working in Kiev during the clashes, Sidyakin sustained a gunshot in the leg but never stopped his LIVE broadcasting.

Marat Saicheko is a prominent photographer and a cameraman. He used to work in hot spots Libya and Syria. In the West he is primarily known as the first person who managed to take photos of the oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky while he was in prison.


RT reporter Graham Phillips released in Ukraine after being held for 36 hours


An RT journalist reporting from Ukraine, Graham Phillips, was released after almost 36 hours of detention by various Kiev security forces.

Phillips says he is feeling ‘ok’ after questioning by Ukrainian security forces and spending a night in detention.

After being arrested at a checkpoint near Mariupol on Tuesday, Phillips was transferred to Zaporozhye where he stayed the night. Ukraine’s authorities did not charge him with anything, he says.

“All my work in order, no charges, no deportation, no one laid a hand on me in anger, Ukrainian authorities treated me fairly,” Phillips said .

He thanked his colleagues and his followers for all their support. “Thank you so much for all your support during this. Some moments were a little bit difficult, but I knew you guys were there supporting me and that meant the world ,” Phillips told RT.

‘Things escalated when they saw I work for RT’

The journalist explained that he was just taking photos at the checkpoint near Mariupol as he has done “dozens of times” covering the turmoil in eastern Ukraine. “I was questioning these soldiers at the checkpoint in Mariupol on what happened on that day, and I’ve done that a lot of times before.”

“And then they saw that I work for RT, and then things escalated after that,” Phillips explained. “It got more serious this time. They started phoning people and then I was detained. I had my things taken off of me and interrogated quite thoroughly.”

“I was with soldiers at this point at a block post and then the SBU came, this is the Ukrainian Secret Services,” Phillips told RT in his first appearance after the release.

That is where Phillips said that he knew that he wasn’t going to get released. Two locals accompanying Phillips were both released soon. He in the meantime was taken away late on Monday night, around 9 pm local time, after having spent 9 hours at the military checkpoint.

The UK journalist said that he was transferred to Zaporozhye in a police van at “gun point,” where he was delivered to an army base barracks. “An SBU man made it quite clear that I was under detention,” Phillips told RT.

The Ukrainian authorities also accused him of being a spy, Phillips says. Working for Russian TV is a “black spot”, UK national says, that is why the soldiers looked at him “with particular wariness.”

“You are working for Russian TV? What is your purpose? Are you a spy?” Phillips described the kind of questions he was asked.

The RT stringer specified that he clearly understood the line of questioning by the Ukrainian authorities, as he speaks and understands Russian.

“They were alright. I mean they fed me, they looked after me, but I was held at a gun point and that was quite dramatic,” he told RT.

Earlier on Wednesday the Ukraine Security Service finished proceedings against Phillips, and said it handed him over to the consul of the British embassy in Kiev.

Phillips was detained at a checkpoint near Mariupol in eastern Ukraine on May 20. Earlier on Wednesday, RT received a statement from the country’s Defense Ministry, which confirmed that the journalist’s arrest had been carried out by the National Guard. According to the ministry’s press service, Phillips was detained for “filming facilities which are forbidden from being filmed.”

US calls on Kiev to release Russian journalists… if they are ‘legitimate’

While Phillips has been released, two Russian journalists still remain in custody, arrested by Kiev authorities on Sunday. The US was quick to reiterate reports coming from Kiev officials alleging the journalists from Russia’s LifeNews channel, Oleg Sidyakin and Marat Saichenko, transported weapons.


US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki

But on Wednesday, the US State Department has seemingly softened its rhetoric, calling on Kiev to investigate the issue and release those individuals if it is proven they are members of a media organization and if they did not violate the law.

“I don’t have any new updates from what I shared yesterday about the circumstances surrounding these individuals and what they may have been carrying with them, but 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,” spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, referring to Saichenko and Sidyakin.

Bombarded with questions, Psaki was also asked if she was “still not convinced,” or was “less unconvinced now” that these were legitimate journalists. Psaki said the US still has “the same concerns that we had yesterday about the circumstances around these individuals,” implying that Washington believes the two veteran Russian journalists indeed carried heavy weapons.

The State Department representative was also asked if the US is “really trying to verify any of the information that’s coming from Kiev,” or just taking it at face value.

“That’s actually not what I said yesterday, but I think I just reiterated the fact that we… call on Ukrainian authorities to investigate these incidents and to release these people if they are legitimate journalists and not involved in illegal activities,” Psaki replied, dodging the question.


American Mercenaries Operative in Ukraine


German media report mercenaries from a notorious private American security company have been deployed to Ukraine to support the country’s operation in the east.

According to Bild and Der Spiegel, 400 mercenaries from Academi– previously known as Balckwater, are on the ground near the eastern city of Luhansk. They’re reportedly involved in the army operations against pro-Russian activists. The German newspapers have cited Germany’s federal intelligence agency BND as the source. According to BND’s assessments, the US intelligence services had prior information about the covert involvement of mercenaries in Ukraine. Blackwater has a record of atrocities against civilians and arms smuggling into Iraq during the US occupation of the country. Russia has recently accused the US of complicity in Ukraine’s military assault in the east.



At least 9 Ukrainian US/dummies paratroops killed in clashes with pro-Russia Donetsk resistents

At least 9 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in clashes with pro-Moscow activists in the east of the country.

8 soldiers were killed and 17 more were wounded overnight when pro-Russia groups opened fire on a military checkpoint near the town of Volnovaha in the Donetsk region. Elsewhere in the neighboring Luhansk region, another Ukrainian soldier was killed and two others were injured in clashes with activists. The recent clashes come in the run-up to Ukraine’s presidential election due on May 25. Violence escalated in eastern Ukraine last month after Kiev launched a military offensive against pro-Russia groups that have seized many towns and declared independence in Donetsk and neighboring Luhansk.


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