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Russian TV journalist detained in Kiev

August 30, 2017

A top Russian state television channel on Wednesday accused Ukraine’s security service of kidnapping its reporter in Kiev, while a security service source said she would be deported over a critical report.

Channel One television said its reporter Anna Kurbatova was seized outside her home in the Ukrainian capital.

“Anna Kurbatova has been kidnapped in central Kiev and we cannot get in touch with her,” a Channel One news anchor said. She added that “according to our information, Anna Kurbatova was detained by the Ukrainian Security Services (SBU) employees.”

A source in the SBU told AFP on condition of anonymity that Kurbatova “has not been kidnapped” but detained ahead of her deportation for a critical report.

“She will be deported for the report that she produced on Ukraine’s Independence Day,” the source said. “Our employees looked for her to detain and deport her.”

“Her stay here will be cut short and she will be notified of a ban on entering Ukraine.”

The Russian foreign ministry called the detention a “deliberate provocation” and called on international rights organisations to react to the “outrage happening in Ukraine.”

Ukraine celebrated Independence Day last Thursday, which coincided with a visit by US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and a military parade in Kiev involving US troops.

Kurbatova’s report, aired at the weekend, focused on Mattis’ visit and continuing hostilities in the east of the country despite a recent ceasefire. It featured interviews with people critical of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

She is the second Russian reporter to face expulsion from Ukraine this month after Tamara Nersesyan, who works for Rossiya 24 state news channel, was told to leave the country on August 15 due to “activities going against Ukrainian interests.”

Nersesyan has been banned from entering Ukraine for three years.

Dispatches from AFP concerning freedom of information, censorship and news coverage in regions where independent media is under threat.