Mikhail Voitenko, the Russian editor who was thought to have disappeared in Moscow, has spoken to the BBC:
Speaking to the BBC from Turkey, Mr Voitenko said he had received a threatening phone call from “serious people” whom he suggested may have been members of Russia’s intelligence agency, the FSB.
The caller told Mr Voitenko that those involved in the mysterious case of the Arctic Sea were very angry with him because he had spoken publicly, and were planning on taking action against him, he said.
“As long as I am out of Russia I feel safe,” Mr Voitenko told the BBC. “At least they won’t be able to get me back to Russia and convict [me].”
He also said Nato knew exactly what had happened to the Arctic Sea.
A Nato spokesman said the alliance had been in contact with Russia throughout the crisis, but would not say anything more.
However, a new statement on the Sovfrakht website says:
Today a number of media reported that the chief editor of the online edition of “Marine Bulletin Sovfrakht” had gone into hiding in Istanbul after receiving threats, and that his life was in danger. The assumptions are based on the fact that for some time now Mikhail Voitenko has not been been available for contact. The management of OJSC «Sovfrakht” sent the editor of MB Sovfrakht on a business trip to Istanbul. The Press Service of JSC “Sovfrakht” is always open for cooperation with reliable media whose main task is to cover events professionally and honestly. With regret we refute the facts presented by some media, of threats received by Voitenko. The publication MB-Sovfrakht covers events related to maritime navigation, and Russia’s seamen. In its work changes are planned that will broaden its subscriber base and serve the development of Russia as a maritime power. In particular, we plan to develop not only the news stream, but also the analytical direction, including the study of international experience, and this is what M. Voitenko is presently engaged in.
Press Centre “Sovfrakht-Sovmortrans” Group