KIEV, October 15 (RIA Novosti)
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych instructed the government on Monday to take urgent measures to free a Ukrainian reporter allegedly kidnapped three days ago in Syria.
Relatives and friends believe that Anhar Kochneva, 40, was abducted by Syrian rebels as she traveled to the city of Homs.
“I have issued an order to clarify all the details of the incident and to defend the rights and interests of this Ukrainian citizen,” Yanukovich said.
The Russian Embassy in Damascus earlier said it was working in close contact with local authorities and the Ukrainian Embassy to locate Kochneva, who was working as a freelance reporter for several Russian news outlets.
According to some media sources, Kochneva sent her ex-husband and friends text messages on Sunday saying that she was being held, and expressing hope that she “would be all right.”
Her location and status are still unclear as no group has yet claimed responsibility for the kidnapping or asked for ransom.
Kochneva, known as an expert on Syrian affairs and an outspoken supporter of President Bashar al-Assad, has been covering events in various parts of the conflict-torn Arab country freelancing for various media outlets.
Her relatives earlier claimed that Kochneva had received several threats from the Syrian rebels as she had frequently criticized the opposition forces.
At least three more foreign journalists have been missing in Syria since August.
Mika Yamamoto, a veteran war correspondent with the Japan Press, was killed in Aleppo in August, bringing to four the number of foreign reporters who have lost their lives since the Syrian uprising began in March 2011.
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