Ukrainian journalist Anhar Kochneva, who was abducted near the city of Homs in October 2012, will appear on Syria’s Al-Ihbaria TV Channel on Wednesday, March 13.
Kochneva will talk about how she was abducted and how she escaped, press attache of the Russian Embassy in Damascus Timur Pechatnikov told Itar-Tass.
On Tuesday, March 12, Russian Ambassador to Syria Azamat Kulmukhametov was invited to the Syrian Foreign Ministry when Kochneva was transferred to the Ukrainian Embassy in Damascus by the Syrian authorities. “This step has become the last one to recognise the efforts that the Russian embassy exerted to release the Ukrainian citizen as soon as possible,” he said.
Syrian journalists say Kochneva is not going to leave Damascus. They said she was pinched with hunger and ruined health seriously. Kochneva succeeded in escaping and walking 15 kilometres in the mountainous area. Earlier, Kochneva accompanied Ukrainian and Russian journalists in Syria and worked as freelance journalist.
The Ukrainian Embassy in Damascus confirmed that journalist Anhar Kochneva was free and stayed on the territory of the Ukrainian diplomatic mission, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry’s press service said.
“The condition of the Ukrainian citizen is satisfactory. Nothing threatens her life,” the press service said.
“Our compatriot has been provided material aid and she has all means to contact her relatives,” the press service added.
The Ukrainian Embassy in Syria does necessary work to “give the journalist documents to return home”, the press service said.
Kochneva said she is satisfied with the Ukrainian authorities’ actions to release her. The journalist said she intended to return home in the short run.
Kochneva was abducted by Syrian militants on October 2012. Abductors threatened to dispose of her if the 50 million dollar ransom was not paid. Early in the year rebels told Kochneva’s relatives that they were ready to reduce the ransom to 300,000 U.S. dollars.
On January 31, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara told journalists that it had given the EU an application to contribute to releasing Kochneva. The EU pledged to take part in settling the situation. On March 11, Kochneva got out of prison.