Reporter abducted in Syria worked for Russian intelligence

Last Updated: Thu, Nov 29, 2012 16:00 hrs

Moscow, Nov 29 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Ukrainian journalist Ankhar Kochneva, who was abducted in Syria in October, has said in a YouTube video that she worked for Russian intelligence.

"I came to Syria in January 2012 as a journalist with a forged ID but my main task was to translate between Syrian officers and their Russian counterparts," Kochneva said in Arabic in a three-minute video. "I'm here (in Syria) at the behest of Russian intelligence."

The 40-year-old journalist said she took part in Syrian army operations in Baba Amro, Zabadani, Aleppo and Idlib.

"They kidnapped me when I was returning from Tartus to Damascus with a captain in the Syrian army whom was assigned to protect me. I ask the government of Russia and Ukraine to respond to the kidnappers' demands."

Kochneva, known as an expert on Syrian affairs and an outspoken supporter of President Bashar al-Assad, has been covering events in various parts of the conflict-torn Arab country freelancing for various media outlets.

The journalist went missing in early October as she travelled to the city of Homs.

On Nov 8, a video in which the kidnapped journalist pleads to the Russian and Ukrainian embassies and the Syrian government to fulfill the kidnappers' demands was posted on the website of the Free Syrian Army.

Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleh Voloshyn said Nov 13 the authorities had been in talks with the abductors, but refused to disclose any details.

--IANS/RIA Novosti


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