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Ukrainian journalist kidnapped in Syria is free

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March 11, 2013 02:42 PM EST | AP

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MOSCOW — Russian news reports say a Ukrainian journalist who was kidnapped by rebels in Syria five months ago is now free.

Anhar Kochneva was working as an interpreter for a Russian TV crew when she was kidnapped in western Syria on Oct. 9 by members of the Free Syrian Army, according to the Ukrainian government. Her kidnappers reportedly threatened to kill her unless a ransom was paid.

The state news agency RIA Novosti reported that it had spoken to Kochneva by telephone on Monday, and she said she had escaped her captors and was on her way to Damascus, the Syrian capital.

The news agency said a spokesman for Ukraine's Foreign Ministry confirmed that the journalist was free. The ministry issued no statement and could not be reached for comment.