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Media: Ukrainian journalists deported from Poland after investigating trade with Russia

by Martin Fornusek March 13, 2024 6:06 PM 2 min read
A sign points to the border between Poland and Belarus; in the background is a vehicle belonging to the Polish border guards. (Fabian Sommer/picture alliance via Getty Images)
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Two journalists of the Rayon.ua.in news outlet were detained in Poland and deported while reporting on a trade on the Russian-Polish border, the news outlet said on March 13.

According to the statement, editor Yurii Konkevych and cameraman Oleksandr Piliuk were detained by the Polish police at the border with Russia's Kaliningrad enclave on March 7 and were brought to the Dorohusk-Yahodyn border crossing with Ukraine two days later.

This is the second such case reported in Poland in recent weeks. Ukrainska Pravda journalist Mykhailo Tkach said that he and his cameraman were detained by the Polish police in February while reporting on the shipments of Russian goods to Poland via Belarus.

Rayon.ua.in said that their journalists were investigating the scale of trade on the Russian-Polish border and whether Russian or Polish transport vehicles are used for crossing.

"The Polish police detained us and confiscated our property, did not notify the consul, did not give us the opportunity to call Ukraine, and the (Polish) Internal Security Agency called us persons who threaten the national security of Poland and expelled us," Konkevych said.

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Polish law enforcement officers told the journalists that they spent too much time photographing critical infrastructure, namely Russian liquified gas wagons. The officers subsequently searched the journalists' car and seized their laptop, microphones, phones, and other equipment and personal items.

Only personal items were returned, while Polish authorities kept work-related equipment, Konkevych told Detektor.Media.

Other recorded materials – including photos and videos – were deleted by Polish officers later during the detention, the journalists said.

Detektor.Media published a supposed scan of the Polish security agency's document, which called the journalists a "threat to state security and the interests of the Republic of Poland."

The outlet's editorial staff challenged the legality of the deportation, which bans them from entering the Schengen area for five years, and appealed to international journalistic organizations for support.

Rayon.ua.in published their resulting investigation on March 13.

Polish parliament calls on European Commission to ban agricultural goods from Russia, Belarus
Calling the European Commission to impose sanctions on Russian agricultural goods was one of the suggestions proposed by Ukraine to Poland to solve the ongoing blockade led by Polish farmers.

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