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Ukraine Denies Journalists "Bitten," Using Logic Like Egypt on Al Jazeera

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 23 -- When Ukraine's Ambassador Yuriy Sergeyev scheduled a UN press conference on June 20, Inner City Press asked him about the killing and alleged beating of journalists, among other topics. Video here

   Later on June 20, Inner City Press asked Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin about Sergeyev's answers. UN Video here, from Minute 26:18.

   Now on June 23, Ukraine's Mission to the UN has responded, as to the journalists with this:

"Lie: Russian 'Zvezda' correspondents were bitten and injured before they confessed to the TV cameras and apologized for being regularly lying on the real situation in Eastern Ukraine
Truth: 90% of all Russian so-called journalists working in Ukraine are instructed by their Kremlin patrons to produce anti-Ukrainian fake TV pictures only for internal Russian consumption. No physical or moral violence was used against two 'Zvezvda' correspondents."

  Beyond the dispute about the journalists being beaten -- or "bitten" as the response has it -- there is a problem with this logic, combated by the Free UN Coalition for Access.  This is the same type of accusation that Egypt is using against the Al Jazeera journalists: that they are agents.

  It is the same logic that outgoing French Ambassador Gerard Araud used on April 15, 2014, when he told a Lebanese reporter, "You are not a journalist, you are an agent." In that case, the UN's in-house United Nations Correspondents Association Executive Committee continues to "drag its feet" in offering a defense for its dues-paying member from Lebanon. We will have more on this.

  On June 20, Inner City Press asked Sergeyev about the killing of civilians, in particular five year old Arseny Danchenko reportedly killed by mortars in Golubovka near Slovyansk, as well as on behalf of the new Free UN Coalition for Access about the killing and abuse of journalists.

  Sergeyev and his spokesperson said the killing of the boy had been discredited, with neighbors saying the parents were paid to feign the death. Inner City Press asked, so the boy is alive?  Ambassador Sergeyev seems to have been referring to a different case. We hope to have more on this.

  Also on June 20, Inner City Press asked Churkin about Paragraph 171 of Simonovic's report, about the bombing of the Luhansk administration building on June 2. Earlier last week, Simonovic told Inner City Press his team had no expertise in armaments. Inner City Press asked Churkin, who's paying for this team?

  Churkin said “if the United Nations is paying, I think they are wasting a lot of time. For this attack, they used projectiles, one of them is stuck in the ground next to the building. And they don't have experts?”

  Now, there will be a UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine, and Simonovic's report, on June 24. Watch this site.


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