The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry on Monday said a journalist who spent than 150 days in captivity in Syria has returned home. The Ministry said Ankhar Kochneva had arrived in Kiev on Sunday and her health was satisfactory.
Kochneva, who has written for Syrian and Russian newspapers, was kidnapped in western Syria on October 9 and reportedly held by members of the Free Syrian Army opposition group for a $50 million dollar random, according to the Russian-language press. Kochneva escaped captivity last week and headed home.
Kochneva said in an interview with a local newspaper that she walked away from the house where she was held, skirted a rebel guardpost and then walked about 15 kilometers (9 miles) through fields until finding a villager who helped her. In another interview Kochneva said she plans to return to Syria “to save it.”
Kochneva gave an interview to RT’s Arabic channel, detailing her escape.
“I only had to open the door and get outside. I started thinking about the best time to do that so that no one would see me because they could kill me. At night they would open fire every time they noticed any kind of movement and didn’t know what that was – a human or anything else. I had a million things to consider as it was a very dangerous action. If they had caught me, they would definitely beat me and toughen the conditions they kept me in. Angered, they could even kill me. I opened the door which was locked from inside the house because the guards were there. I got to the street and went down the road. I kept walking and walking,” she said.
On Monday, Kochneva told Ria Novosti: “It was bad. Their [the abductors’] living conditions are poor and my conditions were even worse. I will now have to undergo medical treatment for a long time and at great cost.”
Kochneva’s captors had claimed she was a “Russian spy.” In October, a YouTube video was released showing the Ukrainian journalist “confessing” to working for Russian intelligence.
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