MOSCOW, August 12 (RIA Novosti) - Dmitry Kiselev, the director-general of International Information Agency Rossiya Segodnya, Tuesday described accusations against the agency's photographer who has been arrested by the Kiev authorities as "artificial and ludicrous."
Andrei Stenin, who was covering clashes between Kiev-led forces and independence supporters in Donetsk, Slaviansk and other eastern Ukrainian cities, went missing on August 5. Ukraine’s Interior Ministry said earlier on Tuesday that Stenin “had been arrested on suspicion of aiding terrorists.”
“It seems as if they [the Kiev authorities] spent an entire week fabricating a criminal case against the journalist,” Kiselev said.
Kiselev demanded the immediate release of the Rossiya Segodnya photographer, without any preconditions, and thanked the international community for its support and assistance in the search for Stenin.
Earlier today, an adviser to Ukrainian Interior Minister Anton Herashchenko said that Rossiya Segodnya photographer Andrei Stenin, who went missing in eastern Ukraine on August 5, has been arrested by the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) on suspicion of “aiding terrorists.”
Stenin disappeared last week while on assignment in eastern Ukraine, and no information about his location had been received until today. An unnamed source told RIA Novosti on August 8 that the photojournalist had been abducted by Ukrainian militia forces and was in custody in the city of Zaporozhye, an allegation the SBU later denied.
On August 9, Rossiya Segodnya submitted a request to Ukraine’s Interior Ministry to take urgent measures to find Stenin. The ministry responded to the request three days later under heavy pressure from an OSCE representative for freedom of the press, saying it was looking into the case.