Ukraine holding two Russian state journalists: TV channel

Ukrainian security services are holding two Russian television journalists working for a defence ministry outlet after they were detained at a government checkpoint leaving the conflict-hit east of the country, the channel said Sunday.

AFP| Last Updated: Jun 15, 2014, 13:26 PM IST

Moscow: Ukrainian security services are holding two Russian television journalists working for a defence ministry outlet after they were detained at a government checkpoint leaving the conflict-hit east of the country, the channel said Sunday.

The journalists from Russia`s Zvezda, or Star channel -- Nikita Konashenkov and Yevgeny Davydov -- were detained Saturday by Ukraine`s National Guard as they headed to the airport after covering the fighting in eastern Ukraine between government forces and pro-Russian rebels.

"The management of the channel appeals to Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko to release them," the military broadcaster said in a statement.

The call followed a statement from Russia`s foreign ministry late Saturday slamming Ukraine for "egregiously trampling on the rights of the Russian media."

Two other journalists from the same channel were released from Ukrainian custody on Monday after being held for several days on suspicion of collecting intelligence about government army operations.

Journalists have been targeted by all sides in the conflict during the nearly two months of bloodshed in the east, with Ukrainian and Western reporters also being held by pro-Russian rebels.

Ukrainian troops in May detained two Russian journalists from a pro-Kremlin website and television channel Life News in the same region, later claiming they were transporting anti-aircraft missiles in their cars.

The Life News reporters were freed a week later following the intervention of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov. The Kremlin awarded the journalists medals for valour.