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'Thousands' Questioned In Search For Missing Ukrainian Journalist


Undated photo of Kharkiv journalist Vasyl Klymentyev, who went missing on August 11,2010 (Photo courtesy of atn.kharkov.ua)

Undated photo of Kharkiv journalist Vasyl Klymentyev, who went missing on August 11,2010 (Photo courtesy of atn.kharkov.ua)

KYIV -- Ukrainian police say they have interviewed thousands of people in their investigation into the disappearance of a journalist last year, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reports.

Serhiy Burlakov, deputy chief of the Interior Ministry's press service, spoke to RFE/RL today, eight months after Vasyl Klymentyev, editor in chief of the "Novyy Styl" newspaper, went missing in the eastern city of Kharkiv.

Burlakov said more than 3,000 locals who might help in providing a lead in the case have been questioned by investigators.

Burlakov said the investigators' main version of Klymentyev's disappearance is that it is connected to his professional activities.

But he added that other versions of the disappearance are being considered, such as Klymentyev's family and personal problems as well as possible financial difficulties and a staged disappearance.

An underwater search at the Pechenih water reservoir near Kharkiv discovered Klymentyev's mobile phone and his apartment keys.

Investigators have looked into the cases of more than 200 unidentified bodies in local morgues. Burlakov said Klymentyev's case contains 45 volumes of materials.

Klymentyev's deputy, Petro Matviyenko, told RFE/RL in February that the investigation into Klymentyev's disappearance has not "moved forward in the last six months" despite the involvement of a special investigative group from Kyiv.

According to Matviyenko, on August 9, he and Klymentyev took photographs of mansions allegedly belonging to regional tax chief Stanislav Denisyuk and three other local officials, including a former Ukrainian Security Service officer.

The pictures were intended to be used in an article to be published in the next issue of the paper.

Matviyenko met Klymentyev on August 11 to discuss the article and the photos. Later the same day, Matviyenko said, he was unable to reach Klymentyev by phone.

The investigation also revealed that Klymentyev was last seen on August 11 near Kharkiv's Sportivna subway station with an unknown man, and that both of them got into a BMW car and drove away.

Klymentyev's whereabouts have been unknown since then.

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