MH17: Separatist Soldier Holds Aussie Reporter at Gun Point
By Athena Yenko | August 1, 2014 6:07 PM EST
Channel Nine reporter Damian Ryan wrote about his terrifying experience of being held at a gun point of an AK47 as he tried to report from Ground Zero.
Arriving at the crash site of MH17, Ryan noticed right away that the site had just been subjected to a rough exchange of fires. It was apparent that constant shelling had caused the fires that shrouded the site of the MH17 with smoke.
An armed pro-Russian separatist (foreground) guards a crash site of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 near the village of Hrabove (Grabovo), Donetsk region July 24, 2014.
They arrived at the site after the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the team consisting of Australians and Dutch had finally reached the crash site.
"We were within one kilometre from Ground Zero when were stopped at gunpoint by a very erratic young separatist rebel soldier. He raised his AK47 and cocked it at our heads, thinking we were Ukraine forces," Ryan wrote.
He shared that screaming ensues as the soldier approached them until the soldier realized they were from the media.
Ryan saw that the soldier's position had just suffered being shelled as trees were cut into strips with fragments scattered everywhere.
"We turned around and got out. This just shows that the area may be safe one moment and outrageously dangerous the next."
Reporting from the site, he warns that the international team who wish to recover bodies and evidences from the site could only do so if ceasefire is announced.
"Otherwise, they can forget it."
Ryan is not the only journalist who had such terrifying encounter in their attempt to cover MH17 crash site.
On July 21, News Corp Australia reported about being confronted by militants during coverage. They wanted to know if the correspondents were Americans. Upon knowing that they were Australians, one militant searched Prime Minister Tony Abbott through Google using his mobile phone.
The militant grew mad saying that "your Prime Minister is saying the wrong things," News Corp said.
Before the encounter escalated to something more terrifying, the rebel's attention was shifted to American media approaching the site.
Pro-Russian militia had also detained three American journalists and one European newspaper correspondent. The militants' stance is as tough even towards Russian journalists.
Anna Nemtsova, a Russina journalist writing for Daily Beast and Newsweek, was also held at gun point while being shouted at.
The militants were telling her that it was America behind the anti-Russian revolution in Kiev and the civil upraising in Ukraine.
"We waited in the courtyard of the massive, solidly barricaded complex of the Ukraine Security Service, the SBU, now controlled by DNR forces," Nemtsova said.
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