Russian television correspondent Anna Kurbatova has been detained by the Ukrainian security services in Kiev. The journalist, who works for Russia’s Channel 1, will be deported for “smearing” Ukraine, according to a security services spokesperson.
The incident occurred in the city center of the Ukrainian capital on Wednesday. Kurbatova was “grabbed by unknown assailants, forced into a car and driven away,” according to Channel 1.
The Russian authorities are closely monitoring the situation to learn more about the fate of the journalist.
“At the moment we don’t have information, but, undoubtedly, we’ll do our best to clarify the situation,” Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry is also trying to clarify the situation around the correspondent’s detention.
“The Russian Foreign Ministry and Russian diplomatic institutions abroad are looking into the disappearance of a Channel 1 journalist in Ukraine,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told TASS.
The Russian embassy in Kiev has sent requests to the Ukrainian security services as well as a note to Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry, urging them to clarify the incident and immediately release the journalist, RIA Novosti reported.
A spokesperson for the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) confirmed that the journalist was detained by the organization’s operatives. Kurbatova will be deported from Ukraine to Russia and the SBU is currently preparing the paperwork, according to the spokesperson.
“Russian propagandist Anna Kurbatova will be forcibly returned to the Russian Federation. Ukraine is a constitutional state, its security services operate strictly within the legal framework. All necessary documents for her deportation are being prepared at the moment. It will happen to everyone who dares to smear Ukraine,” the spokesperson said in a Facebook post.
Ahead of the incident, the journalist received threats in connection with her reporting on Ukraine’s Independence Day, according to Channel 1. Following her report, Kurbatova was placed on the list of “enemies of Ukraine” on the notorious Mirotvorets (Peacemaker) website. The website accuses the journalist of “anti-Ukrainian propaganda” and “manipulating socially-important information.”
Just before the incident, Kurbatova had prepared a new report on the ill-treatment of journalists in Ukraine, which has not yet been aired.