VIENNA, July 22 (RAPSI) – OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatovic has called on Russian authorities to immediately release Yevgeny Agarkov, a journalist with the Ukrainian 2+2 television channel, the OSCE said on its website.

Agarkov was arrested in Voronezh in southeast Russia on July 18 for working in the country without Russian Foreign Ministry accreditation. A district court has fined the Ukrainian journalist 2,000 rubles (approximately €42) for working illegally in Russia and ordered his expulsion from the country.

Agarkov has been held at the immigration detention centre near Voronezh since 18 July.

“I call on the authorities to immediately release Agarkov and refrain from such disproportionally restrictive measures in the future,” Mijatovic said. “This decision is excessive and it essentially bans the journalist from reporting. Accreditation should not be, in effect, a work permit, so that the failure to obtain this bars journalists from fulfilling their professional duties.”

According to the Voronezh department of the Federal Migration Service, Agarkov would be held at the temporary detention center for foreign nationals in the Pavlovsk District of the Voronezh Region for ten days. If he doesn’t appeal the court ruling by that deadline, the bailiffs will start preparing his deportation documents, which can take from two to seven days. The department officials said Agarkov has not complained about his detention conditions.

Agarkov was in Voronezh to cover the case of detained Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko.