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Ukrainian journalists said held by separatists

Armed pro-Russian militants stand guard at a check-point outside the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk, on April 20, 2014. Three pro-Russian militants and one attacker were killed in a gunbattle near the volatile eastern Ukrainian town of Slavyansk early today, a local leader and a rebel at the scene told journalists. The separatist leader, Vyatcheslav Ponomarev, who gave the death toll, said the deadly battle broke out at a barricade put up in a village east of Slavyansk, which is under the c

KIEV: Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine have detained a Ukrainian journalist, accusing her of "war crimes" during the "Euromaidan" protests that toppled the Moscow-backed president, her lawyer said on Monday.

There were also reports of other journalists being held.

Irma Krat, 29, was held late on Sunday by militants in the city of Slaviansk, said Oleg Veremienko, a lawyer for the online television news site Krat runs. Russian Internet channel Life News posted video of her being escorted by masked men in combat gear and of an activist saying she was under arrest.

The channel showed a woman it said was Krat, her face hidden by a scarf, saying in Ukrainian: "They detained me but they are treating me all right. They will check the reports I've filed and then they'll decide when to let me go."

A man in camouflage gear whose name was given as Pavel told Life News she was being investigated for "war crimes" against riot police and civilians during the Kiev protests which led to the fall of President Viktor Yanukovich in February.

Krat's last Facebook posting was a message of Easter greetings on Sunday along with a photograph of herself lighting a candle in a makeshift tent church during the Kiev protests.

Veremienko, a Kiev lawyer who represents Krat's TV Prikhovana Pravda - Hidden Truth TV - website said she was being held with a second journalist, freelancer Serhiy Lefter, 22, who had been detained since Wednesday.

Interfax- Ukraine news agency and other local media noted a report from a blogger in eastern Ukraine who said three other, foreign, journalists had been held by militants in Slaviansk on Monday. Several journalists have been questioned by separatists there for short periods and then allowed to leave.

Gunmen took over public buildings in Slaviansk, in Donetsk region, nine days ago as part of a wider movement in Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine demanding a referendum that could lead to the area following Crimea into annexation by Moscow.

 

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