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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

Thursday, Nov. 27


The Customs and Transportation Committee for AmCham meets this morning at 9 a.m. in their office on Ulitsa Yakubovicha.


Tickets are still available for local KHL team SKA St. Petersburg’s showdown with Siberian club Metallurg Novokuznetsk tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the Ice Palace outside the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. Tickets can be purchased on the team’s website, at the arena box office or in their merchandise store on Nevsky Prospekt.


Celebrate one of Russian literature’s most tragic figures during Blok Days, a two-day celebration of the 134th anniversary of the poet’s birthday. The tragic tenor’s work, which led to writer Maxim Gorky to hail him as Russia’s greatest living poet before his death in 1921, will be recited and meetings and discussions about his contributions to the Silver Age of literature in St. Petersburg will be discussed in the confines of his former residence.



Friday, Nov. 28


Join table game aficionados at the British Book Center’s Board Game Evening. Held every Friday at 5 p.m., aficionados and amateurs alike can come take part in a variety of different games that test one’s intellect and cunning.



Saturday, Nov. 29


Cats, dogs, birds, rodents and reptiles are just some of the things that will walk and crawl at Lenexpo convention center this weekend as part of Zooshow, a two-day exhibition featuring not only man’s best friends but a four-legged fashion show, as well as a food fair that will help pet owners find out more about which kibbles are best for their hungry pets.



Sunday, Nov. 30


Remember the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Russo-Finnish war in 1939 during today’s reenactment titled “Winter War: How it Was.” More than 200 people will take part in recreating the opening salvoes of the battle for the north in Kamenka, a small village situated between Vyborg and St. Petersburg, using authentic equipment and vintage vehicles from the era. The faux battle begins at 2 p.m.



Monday, Dec. 1


Serbia filmmaker Emir Kusturica is the featured guest this evening at the Lensovet Palace of Culture the Petrograd Side. Fans of the director will get the chance to watch his movie “Black Cat, White Cat,” as well as ask questions about his award-winning filmography. Tickets for the event, which starts at 7 p.m., start at 2,000 rubles ($42.50).



Tuesday, Dec. 2


Today is the final day of “Takoy Festival,” a three-week program of plays based on the works of Dostoevsky, Remarque and other famed European writers, whose work is transcribed for theatrical performances. Tonight’s festival finale is “Fathers and Sons,” a two-act drama staged by the Novosibirsk Academic Drama Theater based on Turgenev’s classic about familial relations.



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