Ukraine interior minister slams journalists accredited with rebels

Kiev (AFP) - Ukraine's interior minister on Saturday lambasted reporters who were accredited by pro-Russian rebels to cover fighting in the country's east, after their details were leaked by hackers.

Journalist groups have slammed a group of pro-Kiev hackers for this week revealing details of thousands of reporters who got accredited with the insurgents to work in territory they control.

The list includes journalists from Agence France-Presse and other global media organisations and contains the email addresses and phone numbers.

Journalists who entered the war zone needed to receive special permits from the separatist authorities to work in the territory the rebels have controlled since the start of the conflict in April 2014.

But Interior Minister Arsen Avakov lashed out at those who had worked with permission from the rebels.

"I find it impossible to have any contact with the self-appointed occupying authorities -- impossible and immoral", Avakov wrote on his Facebook page.

"This is your choice to cooperate with occupying authorities... Don't hide it", he added, addressing journalists.

Since the information was revealed the only Ukrainian official to support the journalists has been deputy minister of information policy Tetiana Popova, who said that she does not understand why it was necessary.

"This has led to massive threats to journalists and me," she wrote on her Facebook page.

A letter co-signed by reporters from The New York Times as well as The Economist and a Ukrainian representative of the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) media rights organisation said the security breach put their lives at risk.

The website that published the information has been shut down.

The rebel revolt has claimed the lives of more than 9,300 people and plunged Moscow's relations with the West to their lowest point since the Cold War.

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