KIEV, December 18 (RIA Novosti) - Syrian rebels give Ukrainian journalist Ankhar Kochneva another chance and delay her execution, Ukraine’s 1+1 TV channel reported on Tuesday citing a commander of the Free Syrian Army.
The TV channel broadcast a video statement from Abu Jandal, one of the FSA commanders, who said rebels expect Ukraine to meet their demands.
“This girl has long stayed with us, but no one answered our questions what we can be offered to free her,” Jandal was quoted as saying, but did not specify the demands for the release of Kochneva.
Earlier reports said that Kochneva’s kidnappers have threatened to kill her last Thursday if their demand for a $50 million ransom is not paid.
Kochneva, a 40-year-old Ukrainian citizen, was abducted in October by Syrian rebels as she traveled to the city of Homs, and has been held there by them since, they claim.
Kochneva, known as an expert on Syrian affairs, has been in Syria since the start of the conflict. An outspoken supporter of President Bashar al-Assad, she was freelancing for several Russian media outlets, including the NTV, RenTV and RT channels and Utro.Ru news portal.
After she was kidnapped in October, she later appeared in a YouTube video in which she confessed to working for Russian intelligence. Her captors claim Kochneva was armed and had acted as an interpreter for Russian officers.