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Pro-Russian Forces Parade Ukrainian Journalist Irma Kratt in Front of Media in Sloviansk

Pro-Russian Forces Parade Ukrainian Journalist Irma Kratt in Front of Media in Sloviansk

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The pro-Russian forces allowed captured journalist Irma Krat to hold a 30 minute press conference with journalists at the scene. Krat was abducted by the separatists Sunday night in Sloviansk and they accused her of torturing pro-Russians at the security services building.

Here are tweets from journalists at the scene.

Simon Shuster, a TIME reporter based in Moscow, was the first one to report the abduction. Krat is originally from Kyiv and one of the few women to have a prominent role in the Euromaidan protests at Independence Square. Shuster said this made her a valuable target for the pro-Russians in east Ukraine, but that she is not the only one.

According to Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, the leader of the separatists in Slavyansk, his forces have detained numerous people the separatists suspect of being provocateurs or agents of the central government in Kiev. “We have captured some of their spies, their infiltrators,” Ponomaryov said at a briefing of two dozen journalists on Sunday at his headquarters in city hall. “Right now we’re working them over. They are now in captivity.” Asked by TIME exactly how many people they were holding, he said, “I will not be voicing that information at this time.”

It was Krat, though, that the separatists paraded around after they took her. Shuster was one of the journalists the pro-Russians gathered at the gate of the security building.

“We have gathered you here to announce that, in the town of Slavyansk, a diehard activist of the Maidan self-defense forces, Irma Krat, was detained today,” said one of the camouflage-clad troops, who only agreed to state his first name, Pavel. “She is suspected of many crimes on the Maidan, against the Berkut [riot police] and against peaceful citizens. We therefore saw it as our right to detain her, and she will be kept in detention until we figure out her involvement in these war crimes.”

On the far side of the courtyard, a masked man in camouflage then led Krat out of a backdoor of the building and held her by the arm in front of the reporters. A few seconds later, the separatist leader Ponomaryov, dressed in his signature black hoodie and baseball cap, came marching passed the gate toward Krat, and she was led back inside. Her guards did not allow TIME to speak with her, but two Russian journalists were later led inside the building to ask her a few questions. One of them, a reporter at a major state-run news network in Moscow, said he saw her being kept blindfolded in the basement of the security building, under the watch of armed guards. “She says she’s a journalist who came here trying to see things for herself,” the TV reporter said, requesting that his name not be used. “She’s in good shape, all things considered.”

Russian media immediately stepped in and celebrated the capture. Life News Russia told people the separatists captured the leader of a Maidan cell that tortured pro-Russians. She told the outlet she was there to report on the truth and no one is giving her instructions. 

Breitbart News will update this story when more information is available.

Photo credit: Twitter/@GrahamWP_UK


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