Ukrainian reporter escapes from Syrians' captivity
Beirut, March 12 : Ukrainian journalist Ankhar Kochneva, abducted by Syrian militants last October and held for a USD 50 million ransom, has escaped from the captivity and is now safe.
"I was a captive of the Free Syrian Army military council," she told over telephone.
"At about 6 a.m. this morning I ran away from a Homs suburb. I was held in al-Bueida, a south Homs suburb; there is a lake there and this morning I was carried across that lake."
"I walked and walked, and the first person I met was the one I needed," she said.
Kochneva's abductors mistreated her, she said.
"It was bad. Their [the abductors'] living conditions are poor and my conditions were even worse," the journalist said. "I will now have to undergo medical treatment for a long time and at great cost."
"I took a terrible risk, as I had to walk across an area leading on to minefields," she said, adding that she was now being protected and "en route to Damascus."
Ukraine's Foreign Ministry confirmed on Monday that Kochneva escaped her captors.
"We are expecting her to arrive at the Ukrainian Embassy in Syria tomorrow, on Tuesday," a ministry source said.
Kochneva, known as an expert on Syrian affairs, has been in Syria since the start of the conflict.
An outspoken supporter of President Bashar al-Assad, she was freelancing for several Russian media outlets, including the NTV, RenTV and RT channels and the Utro.Ru news portal.