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Journalist detained working for CNN in Ukraine is freed

By Laura Smith-Spark and Azadeh Ansari, CNN
updated 5:52 AM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Ukrainian journalist, Anton Skiba, was detained for four days by pro-Russian separatists.
Ukrainian journalist, Anton Skiba, was detained for four days by pro-Russian separatists.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Anton Skiba called CNN on Saturday to confirm his release
  • He was detained when a CNN crew returned to Donetsk from working at MH17 crash site
  • His work for CNN included translating and providing local knowledge

(CNN) -- A Ukrainian journalist detained Tuesday by pro-Russian rebels while working as a freelance producer for CNN has been freed.

Anton Skiba called CNN on Saturday to confirm his release. CNN also received visual confirmation that Skiba is free from sources on the ground in Donetsk.

On Tuesday evening, armed fighters led by a senior official from the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic were waiting outside the Donbass Palace Hotel, in the rebel-controlled city of Donetsk, as CNN television crew returned from a day's work at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

Skiba had worked for one day with the CNN crew when he was detained.

Skiba's work as a journalist for CNN also encompassed translating and providing local knowledge.

An official with the Donetsk People's Republic initially accused Skiba of "terrorism" and of posting offers, on his Facebook page, of cash rewards for the killing of rebel fighters.

The official later dropped the accusation about the Facebook posts and said Skiba was being questioned for having multiple forms of identification with different surnames.

On July 11, Alexandr Kalyussky -- the senior official who detained Skiba -- was added to the growing list of rebel officials to face sanctions from the European Union.

Skiba had previously also worked as a freelancer for the BBC for two days in the wake of the MH17 crash. A journalist at the Moscow-based weekly magazine Russian Reporter told CNN that Skiba also worked for several months in 2013 as a photographer for the publication.

CNN's Ivan Watson and Ingrid Formanek contributed to this report.

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