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Ukrainian Authorities Claim Detained Russian Journalists Had Missile

Published: May 21, 2014 (Issue # 1810)



  • A Youtube video purports to show two Russian journalists and an unidentified third detainee being held by Ukrainian soldiers.
    Photo: Life-Maria Channel / YouTube

Ukrainian authorities have alleged that two Russian reporters detained by the country's security forces were armed and involved in terrorism amid growing Russian and international appeals for their release.

The deputy secretary of Ukraine's National Security Defense Council, Viktoria Syumar, told Ukraine's Channel 5 on Monday that a portable anti-aircraft missile was found in the vehicle of Oleg Sidyakin and Marat Saichenko, two reporters from Russia's LifeNews Internet portal and television channel.

"Whether they were helping someone transport it [the portable anti-aircraft missile] or using it themselves needs to be clarified at this point," Syumar said. "This is a classic case of undercover work."

Syumar said her organization had received video and photographic evidence that the reporters "always worked together with terrorists during attacks and killings."

President Vladimir Putin's press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, said Tuesday that Russia was demanding the immediate release of Sidyakin and Saichenko, who were detained near the eastern city of Kramatorsk on Sunday.

The Foreign Ministry also published a statement Monday saying it "wished to remind Mrs. Syumar and the country's political actors that fighting against undesirable journalists is not the best way to convince the world and the Ukrainian people that the authorities in Kiev are committed to freedom and democracy."

The editor-in-chief of LifeNews, Anatoly Suleimanov, vehemently denied Syumar's suggestion that the reporters had been collaborating with pro-Russian forces in eastern Ukraine.

"I am sure that if the Ukrainian authorities looked a little harder, they would even find a tank in that car," Suleimanov said in a telephone interview with The St. Petersburg Times.

"Marat [Saichenko] is the best paparazzi in Russia. Ukrainian authorities only need to Google him to see that he is always at the heart of the action, that he records everything. Thousands of journalists in Russia know Marat. If he were involved in any kind of wrongdoing, everyone would know about it."

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Sept. 3


Although the Peter and Paul Fortress sand sculptures are more central and therefore more visible to the throngs of tourists, the 300th Anniversary Park of St. Petersburgs own collection closes today. The World Collection of Sand Sculptures that have been on display at the park reaches its final day, so fans of the classic beach activity should get there while they can.



Thursday, Sept. 4


Vladimir I. Danchenkov, Head of Baltic Customs, will be in attendance during AmChams Customs and Transportation Committee Meeting convening this afternoon at the organizations office near St. Isaacs Square at 3 p.m.



Friday, Sept. 5


Scrabble lovers and chess masters get their chance to assert their intellectual dominance at the return of the British Book Centers Board Game Evenings tonight. Held weekly on Friday nights, the event gives both board game lovers and those hoping to improve their English the chance to meet, greet and compete. Check out the centers VK page for more details.



Saturday, Sept. 6


Athletes will relish the chance to get the latest gear and try out something new at I Choose Sport, an annual event at Lenexpo forum that plans to welcome more than 30,000 people this week to the international exhibition center. Not only will visitors get to try their hand at various athletic endeavors but they will also be able to peruse equipment that can fulfill their dreams of becoming a champion.


Local KHL team SKA St. Petersburg open their season this evening at home against Lokomotiv Yarovslavl at the Ice Palace arena next to the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. See their website for a full schedule and available tickets.



Sunday, Sept. 7


Check out retro and antique cars at Fort Konstantin on Kronstadt Island in the Gulf of Finland at FORTuna, a yearly car festival that highlights the eccentricities of the Soviet automobile industry. A car race, contests and a stunt show will give visitors a chance to rev their engines.



Monday, Sept. 8


This evening marks the opening of the two-week ballet festival High Season at the Mikhailovsky Theater. Check the theaters website for more details about performances and featured dancers.



Tuesday, Sept. 9


Discuss the latest news and issues at the AmCham Hazardous Waste Management Roundtable this morning in the Tango Conference Hall of the Sokos Hotel Palace Bridge on Birzhevoy Pereulok. Starting at 9 a.m., planned topics include the Krasny Bor landfill and waste transportation between Russia and Finland.


Learn more about the citys modern architectural trends at the SPIBA Real Estate and Construction Committees meeting on the topic Contemporary Petersburg Style: What is It? Participants will get the chance to discuss whats in-demand with RBI Holdings Irina Petrova and Lubava Pryanikova, and the current state of the local real estate market. Please confirm your attendance by Sept. 5 through SPIBAs website if you wish to attend.



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