PARIS, March 13 A French television journalist
was arrested in Ukraine's Crimea on Thursday, a spokesman for
his station said, days after Reporters Without Borders warned
media were being targeted in the region.
David Geoffrion, working for Canal+, was detained by
pro-Russian gunmen at a military installation in the Ukrainian
town of Simferopol, said a French source with knowledge of the
situation who asked not to be named.
Tension in the Black Sea peninsula has been growing since
pro-Russian separatists took control of the regional parliament,
declaring Crimea part of the Russian Federation and announcing a
referendum for March 16 to confirm this.
In little more than a week, Russian forces have taken over
military installations across Crimea, home to the Russian Black
Sea fleet. Unidentified men fired in the air on Monday as they
moved into a Ukrainian naval post.
"David Geoffrion was arrested. He was in Ukraine to do a
documentary," the Canal+ spokesman said.
France's foreign ministry could not immediately confirm the
Paris-based media watchdog Reporters Without Borders said on
Monday it was alarmed by the steady escalation in violations of
journalists' rights in Crimea after two Ukrainian journalists
Separately, speaking ahead of a planned visit to Moscow on
Tuesday, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said the only
way to resolve the "very difficult and dangerous situation" was
through dialogue, but time was running out.
"This referendum in Crimea is against international law and
the choice is not being left to anybody. It's the choice of yes
or yes," he said at a news conference with his Irish
"I am planning to go to Moscow on Tuesday with (Defence
Minister) Le Drian, but only if it is useful."
(Reporting By John Irish and Marine Pennetier)