LifeNews says its journalists freed with Kadyrov's mediation

LifeNews journalists Oleg Sidyakin and Marat Saichenko were freed with the mediation of Chechen Republic head Ramzan Kadyrov, the television broadcaster reported.

LifeNews journalists Oleg Sidyakin and Marat Saichenko were freed with the mediation of Chechen Republic head Ramzan Kadyrov, the television broadcaster reported.

"This [mediation] was not advertised for the reasons of the journalists' security," it said.

Ukrainian servicemen detained Sidyakin and Saichenko on May 18 in the area of Kramatorsk, Donetsk region. They were brought to Kyiv for questioning and accused of connivance with terrorists. The journalists were set free seven days after they were captured.

Saichenko claimed Ukrainian servicemen planted a MANPAD (man-portable air-defense system) in their vehicle after the detention.

"We were taken to the Kramatorsk airport after the detention and once we arrived there we were told that we had been on a clash scene and we were shown a car, which, as the law enforcers claimed, contained bodies of terrorists and a MANPAD. Then we were packed into an armored personnel carrier together with the MANPAD," he told reporters on Sunday.

In the words of Saichenko, the armored personnel carrier transported them to a field, where they took a helicopter and flew over to Izium and from there to Kyiv.

"The MANPAD was transported together with us and they claimed they had allegedly found it on us," he said.

In turn, Sidyakin said they saw mercenaries at the Kramatorsk airport.

"There were lots of mercenaries at the airport. There were also people wearing uniforms, which were not typical of Ukraine, they did not talk to anyone but silently went to the headquarters. We are still wondering who they are," Sidyakin told reporters.

He noted they did not hear anyone speak English.

"But we saw people equipped as if they belonged to the Western forces. The behavior of those people was strange, same as their manners and the fact they did not speak to anyone," he said.

The freed journalists doubted they were released for a ransom.

"Judging by the way it went, I do not think that money was an argument. More likely, it was a question of diplomacy," Saichenko said.

Read more: Ukrainian Interior Ministry confirms death of Italian photographer near Slavyansk

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