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British freelance for Russia Today goes missing while covering fighting in Ukraine

By Dominic Ponsford

A freelance British reporter working for the TV channel Russia Today is reported to be missing in Donetsk after covering fighting between the Ukrainian army and pro-Moscow rebels.

Russia Today reports that Graham Phillips, 35, is feared to have been taken hostage in an ambush near the airport. The channel said Phillips and three Russian reporters were urged not to enter the area for safety reasons.

The channel has not heard from Phillips since he sent a text message at 11pm on Tuesday (local time). A Russian journalist who was with him is also believed to be missing.

Konstantin Knyrik, from Russia’s Anna news channel, told Russia Today: "We have information they are being held captive by the Ukrainian security services. That’s according to anti-government forces. We can’t verify this at the moment.”

Phillips had previously been held by Ukrainian authorities for 36 hours in May and then later released.

A journalist who asked to remain anonymous told Russia Today: "We all went to the airport together. Some 280 metres away we turned back. We felt it could be dangerous. He [Graham] and another reporter decided to proceed.

"I think they could have been ambushed. When we got back to our car another guy answered.

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"It was that other reporter. He talked very quietly. We asked him where Graham was. He said he was surrounded by the Ukrainian army and that they’d got Graham.”

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