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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Military Releases Reporter in Chechnya

Anna Politkovskaya, a war reporter for Novaya Gazeta newspaper detained by the military in southeast Chechnya earlier this week, was set free Thursday and transported to the army base in Khankala.

In an interview with NTV television from Khankala, Politkovskaya said she had been detained by soldiers who, judging by their treatment of her, were "simply not very mentally healthy because of the conditions in which they've found themselves."

Politkovskaya said she was detained Tuesday evening, when she was leaving an army checkpoint in the village of Khatuni near Vedeno after interviewing the officer in charge of the checkpoint.

"We spoke for quite some time, he even gave me advice on reaching Gudermes quickly because it was getting dark," Politkovskaya said. "When I was already leaving, the soldiers [from the 45th paratrooper regiment] stopped me and told me they had 'orders from above' to detain me."

Politkovskaya said she spent the night at the army base and, when it was quite dark, a senior soldier took her outside, saying he was taking her for "execution."

She said he led her to what turned out to be artillery equipment and started shooting into the dark, saying "whoever's not hiding, it's not my fault" — as children do in hide-and-seek.

"After seeing how they treated me, a journalist, I am convinced all the complaints of local residents about how they are mistreated are true," she said, adding that she had submitted a written complaint to the military prosecutor.

Federal Security Service spokesman Alexander Zdanovich denied all of Politkovskaya's allegations calling them "nonsense" and said she had been traveling without proper documents.

The office of the Kremlin's Chechnya spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky reiterated Thursday that Politkovskaya had had proper accreditation, but Yastrzhembsky's deputy Konstanin Makeyev said she hadn't had the necessary registration number on paperwork from her employer.

The Prosecutor General's Office has ordered an investigation into Politkovskaya's detention, Interfax reported Thursday. But Makeyev said the investigation had been completed late Thursday and revealed that Politkovskaya "was not detained at all."

"When darkness fell the soldiers let her stay on the base for the night," he said. "Her rights were never curtailed in any way."