MOSCOW – A British reporter for Russia's RT television in conflict-torn eastern Ukraine said on Saturday that Kiev had deported and banned him from the country for three years.
Graham Phillips, a journalist who was freelancing for Kremlin-backed RT, wrote on Twitter that he is in Poland and had been deported after Ukrainian forces detained him in Donetsk last week. "I'm free, ok, deported from Ukraine, banned for 3 years, because 'I work for RT'" Phillips wrote. "I am in Poland now."
It was not possible to independently verify Phillips' claims and Ukraine's security services said last week they had no word on his whereabouts. RT, previously Russia Today, was founded by the Kremlin to promote the Russian point of view on world affairs to an international audience.
Phillips' detention along with the abduction by pro-Russian rebels of a Ukrainian journalist working for CNN prompted Reporters without Borders last week to say that "arbitrary arrests and disappearances of journalists are on the rise again in eastern Ukraine".
US channel CNN said Thursday that its Ukrainian fixer Anton Skiba had been detained on Tuesday in Donetsk by separatist rebels who later accused him of being a Ukrainian agent.
Phillips confirmed earlier reports that he had been detained while trying to cover fighting near Donetsk airport along with a journalist from Anna-news, a news agency based in the Georgian breakaway region of Abkhazia.