Foreign Ministry: Ukraine taking measures to free journalist Kochneva in Syria

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Dec. 13, 2012, 9:19 a.m. | Ukraine — by Interfax-Ukraine

Free Syrian Army fighters warm themselves up by the fire in Tal Sheen village, north of Aleppo province, Syria, Dec. 12. A division of the Army is illegally holding Ukrainian journalist Anhar Kochneva. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry says that it is taking all measures to free her.
© Associated Press

Ukraine is taking all measures to free Ukrainian journalist Anhar Kochneva who is illegally held in Syria, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has said.

"Ukraine again expresses its deep concern over the situation around Anhar Kochneva who is illegally held in Syria by a group, which calls itself a division of the Free Syrian Army. The Ukrainian side is taking all measures to release the Ukrainian woman both at the state level, including in cooperation with its international partners, and with the involvement of public and religious organizations," the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry said: "Ukraine warns individuals and groups who are holding Kochneva that if they use the methods of physical or other influence against her, which hurt her health or life, an inevitable consequence for all those involved in such actions will be their full responsibility for committing this crime."

As reported, the kidnappers of Ukrainian journalist Anhar Kochneva threatened to kill her on Thursday, December 13, if their demands for a $50 million ransom are not met, Britain's Guardian newspaper reported on Wednesday.

In a video, released on November 28, she made a short statement in Arabic, in which she says that her reason for being in Syria was to act as a translator for "Russian intelligence." European journalists' organisations, including the Russian Union of Journalists, believe she was pressured to read that text.

On November 8, a video with the kidnapped journalist was posted on the Web site of the Free Syrian Army. In the video that lasts 15 seconds, she said in Arabic: "My name is Anhar. I'm located in Homs now, and I urge the Ukrainian and the Russian Embassy, and also the Syrian government, to fulfill the kidnappers' demands."

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