: Massive leak exposes Ukrainian journalists' correspondence with Russian-backed authorities in Donbas
Society19:27 Aug. 5, 2016

Massive leak exposes Ukrainian journalists' correspondence with Russian-backed authorities in Donbas

Nearly 9,000 files posted on the Internet with numerous media on the list asking for accreditation or approving stories

Numerous Ukrainian journalists are said to have been requesting the accreditation in the self-proclaimed People's Republic of Donetsk. Nearly 9,000 files of mailing with the so-called secret service of the occupied territories have been published on the Internet. The documents contain the names of the journalists and editions who have been accredited for reporting on the Russia-occupied territories.

According to the information unveiled the journalists asked to be accredited, as well as wrote the explanatory messages and sent the texts of the news plots to be checked by the secret service of the self-proclaimed People's Republic of Donetsk. Tetyana Yegorova, the so-called minister of state security of the self-proclaimed DNR is said to have coordinated the process.

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Leonid Muravyov provided correspondence with Russia-occupation authorities on behalf of Inter TV channel. He was hired by Russian TV to work in Ukraine as a media advisor. The huge pile of the documents unveiled contains his letter named as "Explanatory message from Muravyov" where he is reporting on the murder of terrorist Mozgovoi. Russian-hired journalist Muravyov describes how the journalist from Inter TV channel Roman Bochkala was punished for referring to the separatist militants as to the terrorists.

Bochkala in turn says the mailing may have taken place, since the characters mentioned there are real. On the contrary, he denies being punished and says Muravyov might have disguised himself under the name of Bochkala. He also insists this is the real drawback of Ukraine's Security Service that is obliged to follow and arrest such Russian spies.

Leonid Muravyov was expelled from Ukraine in the spring of 2015. Being a correspondent of Russian 5 Kanal, he reported on the events unfolding in Donbas region. In his coverages Muravyov rudely distorted the facts by telling how Ukrainian soldiers allegedly killed the local residents. Ukraine's Security Service deported Muravyov to Russia banning him from entering Ukraine's territory for the next 5 years.

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Ukrainian journalist Volodymyr Runets was also accredited in the self-proclaimed People's Republic of Donetsk. Now he claims to have had hardly any cooperation with the Russian-backed separatists.

Volodymyr Runets, journalist: "They gave me a paper made on a usual printer with DNR-logo. It was supposed to provide us with access to the civil objects. No one demanded money, neither did anyone claim to provide the texts written. Despite being accredited we were not let to the military objects, that was available only for the Russian channels."

Another Ukrainian military correspondent Ruslan Yarmoliuk says he did not ask for any accreditation. Nevertheless, he adds, the only way to report from the occupied territories was to say what they wished to hear, being threatened by a gun and controlled by Russian-backed security forces.

Ruslan Yarmoliuk, military correspondent: "If you say what they want you to say, there is a chance you may return here for further work. However, if you say something they do not like, they will never let you in despite any real or fake accreditations."

Some foreign media are also said to have cooperated with Russian-backed occupants. According to the letters published on the web, the journalists from Polish "Gazeta Wyborcza" have made numerous attempts to get an access to the occupied territories, specifically - offered to coordinate the news content with the occupation authorities.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian media are awaiting the reaction of their foreign colleagues. Ukraine's Security Service and Ministry of Information Policy are set to investigate the supposed cooperation of Ukrainian media with the occupants.  

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