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Polish police detains UP filming crew at the border, deletes some footage

27.02.2024, 18:05

The Polish police detained Mykhailo Tkach and his cameraman near the Poland–Belarus border as the journalist was filming a report on the transit of goods between Poland and Russia, Belarus. Some of the footage was deleted by the Polish law enforcers, reports Ukrainian Pravda.

The editors stressed that they were outraged that the situation was only resolved after a public backlash and the intervention of the Ukrainian Embassy in Poland. The UP thanked the ambassador and the consul for their quick response and concern.

"Polish police officers came up to us near the border between Poland and Belarus, and showed us their badges. We showed our documents and journalist IDs. They started grabbing our cameras, searching us... Then they brought us to the commandant's office. About 10 people started searching our car, and throwing our things out onto the hood; they took all the memory cards from our cameras, they took all the phones, the documents," the journalist said.

According to Tkach, during the interrogation at the commandant's office, he said that he was a journalist and that his team was filming Poland's trade with Russia through Belarus and Poland's trade with Belarus, the agricultural products going from Russia and Belarus to Poland.

"It was obvious that the representatives of the Polish special service were scared. They started asking me who else knew about it, whether the Ukrainian authorities, the Ukrainian government knew about it. They asked who our sources were, how we found out about it, how long we have been working on this topic," the journalist said.

According to the editors' statement, Tkach and the cameraman were kept in the commandant's office for at least 4 hours and were only released after permission from "above". All this time, journalists were not allowed to contact anyone.

At the Polish commandant's office, Ukrainian journalists were interrogated not only by the police, but also by special service officers.

"After the journalists were given back their memory cards, we learned that some of the recorded footage had been deleted. The policemen also damaged the battery charger during the search and talked exclusively in Polish. In the commandant's office, the special service officers spoke to the Ukrainians in English," the editors explained.

Furthermore, the media workers were asked whether they would speak about the detention publicly.

The UP journalists are currently in touch with their lawyers.

According to Tkach, the UP team decided to check what was happening on the Poland–Belarus border in view of Polish farmers blocking the Ukraine–Poland border.

The UP crew being searched. Photo by the UP

The UP filming crew's equipment. Photo by the UP

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