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Russia Detains Moscow Times Journalist in Border City

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Russia Detains Moscow Times Journalist in Border City
A reporter working for The Moscow Times’ Russian service was detained Saturday in the southwestern Russian border city of Belgorod.

Kirill Ponomarev was reporting an article about refugees displaced in the wake of Ukraine’s successful counteroffensive near Kharkiv, which saw Kyiv’s forces retake large swathes of territory next to the border with Russia.

Belgorod is less than 40 kilometers from Ukraine.

“Ponomarev was working on an editorial assignment and was talking to citizens of Russia and Ukraine who had been evacuated from shelling,” The Moscow Times’ Russian service said in a Telegram post late Saturday.

The exact reason for Ponomarev’s arrest is unknown and he is currently being questioned in a Belgorod police station, according to the post. 

A local anti-war group called the Belgorod Anti-War Committee said on Telegram that Ponomarev was detained at 4:40 p.m. on suspicion of spying for Ukraine. 

Telegram channel Osotorozhno Novosti cited local police as saying that Ponomarev was being charged for an administrative offense.  

The Moscow Times’ Russian service was set up last year to offer independent Russian-language reporting on Russia. It is editorially separate from The Moscow Times.

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