The Russian Investigative Committee has opened a criminal case based on the illegal detention in Ukraine of Russian television journalists Andrei Grigoryev (of NTV) and Yelena Makarova (of Channel One), Vladimir Markin, an official with the Investigative, told Interfax.
"The criminal case was opened based on Article 144 of the Russian Criminal Code [impeding the lawful professional journalists of journalists involving violence]," Markin said.
Markin said the Russian journalists were working in Ukraine in strict accordance with their editorial assignment and did not violate Russian or Ukrainian laws.
"According to the information possessed by the investigators, NTV reporter Andrei Grigoryev and Channel One reporter Yelena Makarova were detained in central Kyiv on February 25 while working on material on a march organized by the nationalist organization Right Sector, which was banned by court in Russia," Markin said.
Markin said the journalists "were held by Ukrainian Security service officials for several hours."
Markin reiterated that "the Ukrainian authorities acted absolutely illegitimately and even criminally in their treatment of the Russian journalists, massively violating their own laws and the norms of international law."
"For this reason, the Russian Investigative Committee intends to ascertain all people involved in the illegal imprisonment and obstruction of the Russian journalists work and subject them to criminal liability," Markin said.
The Moscow Union of Journalists is outraged by the situation concerning the expulsion of Russian journalists from Ukraine and is calling on international organizations to protect the rights and security of Russian journalists working in Ukraine.
"The Channel One and NTV journalists' accreditation has been cancelled on a technicality and they have been expelled from the country and barred from crossing the border for five years. It's a glaring breach of international regulations," the Moscow Union of Journalists said in a statement published on the organization's website on Thursday.
"We demand that the OSCE, the UN, the IFJ [The International Federation of Journalists] and other structures to take measures to protect the rights and security of Russian journalists working in Ukraine," the statement says.
Ukrainian Security Service officials earlier detained and expelled from the country two Russian journalists, who work for Channel One and NTV. According to an official comment made by a Ukrainian Security Service official, the decision was made "due to anti-Ukrainian propaganda" in which the journalists allegedly engaged in Kiev. The reporters are barred from entering Ukraine for five years.
All rights reserved by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.