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    Russian Senators Urge Ukraine to Free LifeNews Journalists, Protect Press Freedom

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    Russia’s upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, has called on the Ukrainian authorities to act in the framework of the international law and stop hampering the work of Russian journalists in the region.

    MOSCOW, May 21 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, has called on the Ukrainian authorities to act in the framework of the international law and stop hampering the work of Russian journalists in the region.

    “The Federation Council is concerned by the continuing flagrant violation of rights and freedoms of Russian journalists working in Ukraine,” the statement says.

    The senators have asked the Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, to take comprehensive measures to release LifeNews TV reporters Oleg Sidyakin and Marat Saichenko and create safe conditions for the work of journalists in the country.

    The senators condemn the fact which they say is unacceptable in civilized states that the journalists were forced to get on their knees and were beaten.

    The Kiev authorities are trying to accuse the journalists of aiding terrorism by fabricating data that they had been allegedly carrying weapons, the statement says.

    Moscow expects the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to act decisively in order to ensure the release of Russian journalists held in Ukraine, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Monday.

    The LifeNews TV reporters were detained Sunday near Kramatorsk, a flashpoint city in the regime’s “anti-terror” operation, after they caught on camera a UN-marked strike helicopter apparently used in the military campaign. The publication triggered an international scandal.

    The interim government in Kiev claimed the reporters were “assisting terrorism” in the east of the country and carried weapons, including Man-Portable Air-Defense Systems (MANPADS) in their car.

    A spokeswoman for Ukraine’s Security Service, Marina Ostapenko, said the true purpose of their visit was to come to Slaviansk and provide media coverage to pro-federalization protesters there.

    Over the past two months, reporters of Russia’s leading channels have been kidnapped, beaten, threatened and denied access to Ukraine. Broadcasting of Russian media has also been banned across the country.

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    journalists, Russian Federation Council
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