Gunmen detain 3 journalists in eastern Ukraine

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Associated Press

Posted on April 21, 2014 at 2:03 PM

Updated Monday, Apr 21 at 3:05 PM

SLOVYANSK, Ukraine (AP) — Three foreign journalists were temporarily detained by pro-Russia insurgents in city in eastern Ukraine on Monday.

One Belarusian and two Italian journalists were stopped by gunmen as they reported in the city of Slovyansk, which has been occupied by pro-Russia forces for more than a week. Slovyansk is one of many cities in Ukraine's Russian-speaking eastern region where insurgents are demanding greater ties with Russia.

Dmitry Galko told The Associated Press that he and two Italian colleagues were taken in then freed some time later after a document check.

Ukraine's Foreign Ministry and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, a 57-nation group that includes Russia and the U.S., condemned the detentions.

Pro-Russian insurgents in Slovyansk also are holding a Ukrainian journalist, Irma Krat, who also was an activist in the protests in Kiev that led to the ouster of Russia-friendly president Viktor Yanukovych in February.

On Monday, her captors brought Krat into the courtyard of the local security services building, which the insurgents occupy.

Clearly nervous, Krat told journalists there that "I would like to leave from here, but ... politicians should reach agreement and find a peaceful way out."

After her remarks, her captors wrapped a white cloth over her face and led her back into the building.

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