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Russian journalists detained by Kiev forces near Kramatorsk in E. Ukraine

Published time: May 18, 2014 11:53
Edited time: May 18, 2014 19:39
Journalists Oleg Sidyakin and Marat Saichenko. Image from www.lifenews.ru

Journalists Oleg Sidyakin and Marat Saichenko. Image from www.lifenews.ru

A photo of handcuffed Russian journalists from LifeNews channel, captured on Sunday by Kiev’s armed forces, has appeared on social networks. The two reporters were stopped at a checkpoint near Kramatorsk and contact with them has since been lost.

The same LifeNews journalists – Oleg Sidyakin and Marat Saichenko – came under fire from Kiev's army last week, along with RT's video agency crew.

On May 18, reporter Sidyakin and cameraman Saichenko were performing their professional duties, covering events in southeastern Ukraine, when they “went missing,” the channel said in a statement.

“There is no communication with them,” the channel said.

The last time the crew established contact with the editorial board was at around 09:50 GMT (13:50 Moscow time), when they reached a checkpoint near the town of Kramatorsk. The only thing Sidyakin managed to text was that “things look bad.”

After receiving the SMS message, the office immediately called Sidyakin, who accepted the call, but could not speak. He kept the phone connected, however, so that Moscow could hear that the journalists were being interrogated.

Since the connection was lost, all attempts to get in touch with the crew have been in vain.

A man who accompanied the LifeNews crew confirmed that the journalists were being questioned by armed men, presumably the Ukrainian military.

News Media Holding, which owns LifeNews, has appealed to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, asking him to help with the release of the journalists, the news outlet’s website reported.

Meanwhile, EuroMaidan has posted a photo of the journalists on Twitter with a caption that reads, “Lifenews employees captured near Kramatorsk.”

Ukraine’s Interior Ministry has admitted that two Russian journalists have been detained by Kiev's military forces near the eastern city of Kramatorsk.

“As a result of a military action of the Ukrainian army, unknown [men] have been found, disarmed and taken captive. The people who identified themselves as Russian citizens and journalists have been detained and will be interrogated,” the ministry said in a statement.

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.