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Poles detain Ukrainska Pravda journalist on border near Belarus while reporting on trade between Poland and Russia – photo

Tuesday, 27 February 2024, 17:08
Poles detain Ukrainska Pravda journalist on border near Belarus while reporting on trade between Poland and Russia – photo

Polish law enforcement officers have arrested Mykhailo Tkach and his cameraman close to the Polish-Belarusian border while they were filming a story about the transit of goods between Poland, Russia, and Belarus. The footage was partly deleted by the Polish authorities.

Source: Mykhailo Tkach, Ukrainska Pravda journalist

The Ukrainska Pravda team is outraged that the situation was only resolved after the Ukrainian Embassy in Poland became aware of it and intervened. UP thanks the Consul’s and Ambassador's prompt response and concern.


Quote: "Polish police drove up to us near the Belarusian border and flashed their badge. We displayed our credentials as journalists and our paperwork. They began grabbing our cameras and looking around.

We were then taken to the commandant’s office. Approximately ten individuals started searching our car and us, throwing our belongings on the bonnet, seizing all of the phones, documents, and memory cards from the cameras.

I identified myself as a journalist and explained that we were filming how Poland is trading with Belarus and Russia through Belarus, as well as how agricultural products are transported from Belarus and Russia to Poland, during the interrogation at the commandant's office.

It was clear that the representatives of the Polish special services were frightened. They began to ask me who else knew about it, whether the Ukrainian authorities and the Ukrainian government knew about it. They asked who our sources were, how we learned about it, and how long we have been working on this topic."

Details: As a result, Tkach and the operator were kept in the commandant's office for at least four hours before being released after receiving orders "from above." Throughout this time, the journalists were not permitted to contact anyone.

The Ukrainian journalists were interrogated in the Polish commandant's office not only by police offices, but also by special services agents.

After the Polish law enforcers returned the memory cards, it was discovered that some of the footage had been deleted.

During the search, the police also damaged the journalists’ battery recharging station and only spoke Polish. Representatives from the special services spoke to the Ukrainians in English inside the commandant's office.

The Ukrainians were also asked whether they would speak publicly about being detained.

Photo: Mykhailo Tkach, Ukrainska Pravda

The journalists are currently in contact with their lawyers.

Tkach said that while Polish farmers are blocking the Ukrainian-Polish border, the Ukrainska Pravda team decided to investigate what was going on at the Polish-Belarusian border.

Photo: Mykhailo Tkach, Ukrainska Pravda
Photo: Mykhailo Tkach, Ukrainska Pravda

The situation with the journalist was also commented on by editor-in-chief Sevgil Musayeva.

Quote: "We are outraged by this situation, which was sorted out only after publicity and with the support of the Ukrainian Embassy in Poland. The UP team thanks the ambassador and consul for their quick reaction and concern."

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