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Russian TV crew handed over to Ukraine’s Security Service for ‘spying on checkpoint’

Published time: June 07, 2014 13:00
Edited time: June 07, 2014 14:30
A Ukrainian APC stands at a checkpoint outside of Slavyansk (AFP Photo / Genya Savilov)

A Ukrainian APC stands at a checkpoint outside of Slavyansk (AFP Photo / Genya Savilov)

Two journalists with the Zvezda (Star) channel seized by the National Guard near Slavyansk, eastern Ukraine, have been handed over to the Ukrainian Security Service. They are accused of spying. The station’s management calls the charges ridiculous.

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Ukraine’s National Guard detained Andrey Sushenkov and Anton Malyshev at a military roadblock near the city of Slavyansk on June 6. During a routine check they were blindfolded, handcuffed and taken to an undisclosed location on a helicopter, their driver said. Ever since that, the connection with the two journalists has been lost.

On Saturday, the Guards said the two were handed over to the Security Service (SBU) “to clarify the circumstances and aims of their visit.” The reporters had press documents issued by the self-proclaimed People’s Donetsk Republic.

The state-run Zvezda channel, which covers military affairs, says Sushenkov and Malyshev were on their way to report on President Petro Poroshenko’s post-inauguration tour.

The National Guard confirmed in a statement that the journalists had been seized on charges of spying. The channel’s head, Aleksey Pimanov, confirmed this to RT and branded all the reports issued by the National Guard and the SBU “an outright lie”.

Andrey Sushenkov and Anton Malyshev (Photo courtesy of

“No contact has been established… we are happy they are alive, if happy is what you can call it,” Pimanov told RT. “We are outraged at the brazen allegations that our journalists were ‘surveilling a checkpoint.’ [This] is a strange term to use in connection to journalism.”

“Secondly, they were on official business… Poroshenko’s first point on the inaugural tour was Donetsk. So they were heading over to report on that. They weren’t hiding when approaching the checkpoint. They had all the appropriate documentation.”

“They were instead held without explanation for two hours, handcuffed and with bags over their heads,” the Zvezda chief said.

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has voiced concern for their safety and has issued a statement, saying that it “very much doubts that certain government elements in Ukraine are at all interested in a peaceful resolution to the crisis” and that “we call on the Ukrainian leadership to stop its unlawful treatment of domestic and foreign journalists and provide a safe working environment for them, in accordance with international norms and standards.”

The situation follows several more incidents taking place recently, the most recent of which took place May 18, when a LifeNews TV crew was captured by Kiev forces near the eastern city of Kramatorsk. Also last month, RT stringer Graham Phillips was also detained by the National Guard and questioned for over 36 hours by the SBU.

Eastern Ukraine, especially the area around Slavyansk, continues to be a hot spot, as Kiev intensifies its “anti-terrorist” operation against anti-government activists and militias who seized the country’s eastern regions in a bid to detach them from the rest of the country.

Comments (29)


Scott Kuli 09.06.2014 04:07

They know they can't afford to let people film them shelling civilians and have that been seen anywhere in the US.

The tragic thing is that while Russia is no longer a communist country, these Ukrainian fascists are using the worst of Soviet era tactics in a very ham-handed, intelligence-insulti ngly obvious fashion.

I'm hoping America will wake up and realize that their government wants to make the world safe for the kinds of scams that have been perpetrated against them and see that their "enemies" are not the people their government tells them are their enemies, at least not in this case.


Alexander Seredin 08.06.2014 13:32

"Spies" my butt! How can one be a spy in his own country? besides everything Ukraine has has been supplied by Russia. What possible information
Russia needs? They have serial number of every
piece of hardware, and every Uk. officer was trained
in Russia at one time. "Spying" here is out of question.


Nigel Jude 07.06.2014 21:58

Yes I know the history. Both Ukraine and Russia share a common origin in Kievan Rus but there the similarities end. Ukraine has embraced Western ideas of democracy and freedom, whereas Russia is still caught up in that cold war mentality: It's us vs the West. Really Russians, Europeans and Americans are no different from each other: we want a safe world for our children. We share one Earth. Why is it so hard for Putin to understand this? By prolonging this animosity and cold war mentality, he is keeping his people behind. Russia should really join the EU.

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