12:06 01.02.2013

Newspaper: Syrian abductors of Kochneva want to see Kadyrov as mediator in talks with Ukraine

Syrian rebels who abducted Ukrainian journalist Anhar Kochneva has demanded that Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov be a mediator in talks with Ukraine, a nephew of the hostage, Dmitry Astafurov, has told the Segodnya newspaper.

"They are dissatisfied with talks held with representatives of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, and they want to Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov to be a mediator between them and our country. They trust him, because he is a Muslim. I got this information from Anhar's ex-husband- Dmitry Petrov. He communicates with the kidnappers via Skype," he said.

At the same time, the Chechen president's spokesperson, Alvi Karimov, told the newspaper: "I and many of my friends in Russia are closely watching the events surrounding Anhar Kochneva and are worried about her future. I declare that reports that the kidnappers expressed a desire to see Ramzan Akhmatovich [Kadyrov] as a mediator in the negotiations are misleading."

In his opinion, someone is trying to discredit the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry.

"I think that Ramzan Kadyrov has never acted as a mediator in talks with terrorists. But he will make every effort for the sake of saving human life, if, of course, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry officially turns to him through the Russian Foreign Ministry. But this application has not been sent," Karimov said.

It was said earlier that Kochneva had been abducted in Syria in October 2012 by Free Syrian Army insurgents. They threatened to kill her unless a $50 million ransom was paid.

In January 2013, the rebels told the hostage's relatives that they were ready to cut the ransom to $300,000.

On January 31, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara told reporters that he had given a formal request from Kyiv for EU assistance in the release of Ukrainian hostages in Libya and journalist Kochneva. He said that this request had been passed at a meeting with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton.

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