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Woman detained in eastern Ukraine denies being spy, says she's reporter

Woman detained in eastern Ukraine denies being spy, says she's reporter
Prominent Maidan activist, Irma Krat, who was detained on Sunday in eastern Ukraine’s protester-held town of Slavyansk, has refuted accusations of being a Kiev spy, saying she is in the Donetsk region in her capacity as a journalist.

The self-defense forces suspect Krat (dubbed by the media as ‘the Fury of Maidan’), of links with the radical and ultranationalist Right Sector movement.

One of the local anti-government protesters told Life News that the 29-year-old is suspected of using fire arms against Berkut riot police and involvement in the torture of a pro-Russian activist during February’s coup in Kiev, which resulted in the overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovich.

During her media-conference in Slavyansk on Monday, Krat denied her links with the radicals, saying that she came to the Donetsk region to prepare TV-reports about the events in the area.

“It’s unclear what will happen next. But I want to say that they shouldn’t even try to bring such charges against me. It will be in vain,”
she said.

Krat even presented a press-card, which says she is the editor-in-chief of the Svoboda Slova (Freedom of Speech) newspaper.

However, the representatives of the Donbass self-defense forces pointed out that the document is outdated, as it expired in December 2013.

At presser, Krat's press pass is brought out, 'self-defence' draw attention to its being out of date. #Slovianskpic.twitter.com/wcEU6qHRwr

— GrahamWPhillips (@GrahamWP_UK) April 21, 2014

Krat confirmed that she was part of the so-called Women Squadron during the Maidan riots, but stressed that “we were journalists, lawwomen and lawyers. So we didn’t take part in military action, we only helped with judicial consultations and the organization of live broadcasting.”

But if criminal charges are brought against her, Krat said that she’ll be able to stand up for herself as she’s “a good defender of rights.”

The activist told the reporters in Slavyansk that she’s disappointed with the Maidan protests and what the overthrow of the government brought down on Ukraine.

“We didn’t think that something like this could happen… Nobody thought that there’ll be a civil war, that Ukraine will be split into two parts,” she said.

When asked about whether she would have taken part in the Maidan protests if she had known its outcome, Krat replied: “I don’t know. I can’t answer this question. Maybe I wouldn’t even have gone.”

“There’s no law now – what we have in Ukraine is total anarchy,” she added.

Photo from twitter.com user @GrahamWP_UK

The activist said that former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who was released from prison after the coup-imposed authorities amended the law, had failed to meet expectations as well.

“I thought the person would change during her time in prison. That she’d be a different after being granted freedom. That she’d save the country, and, with her good relations with Putin, she’d make thing work. But we didn’t see that,” she stressed.

The activist said that the protest at Maidan, which she supported, and the protest movement in southeastern Ukraine mirror each other.

“There are no Russians. There are no separatists here. It’s just the people here, talking and asking questions,” she said.

Krat concluded her discourse with the media by saying that she was treated well by her captors and that she feels fine.

“I don't worry as I’ve done nothing wrong,” she stressed.

Anti-government protesters have captured government buildings in Donetsk and other regions across southeastern Ukraine over the past two weeks.

They call the coup-installed Ukrainian authorities illegitimate and are demanding a referendum to vote on autonomy for their regions.

With Kiev’s promised military crackdown on the protesters turning out to be a flop, radicals from the Right Sector movement are believed to be taking the army’s place.

Five people, including three protesters and two attackers, were reportedly killed in a gunfight at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Slavyansk early on Sunday.

Supporters of the referendum on Ukraine's federalization are seen outside the building of the regional department of internal affairs in the city of Slavyansk, Donetsk Region.(RIA Novosti)