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Editor flees over 'Arctic Sea' posting

MOSCOW, Sept. 3 (UPI) -- An editor fled Russia Wednesday, saying he was told to leave because he suggested the hijacked cargo ship Arctic Sea might have been carrying missiles.

Mikhail Voitenko, the editor of the Soyfrakht Marine Bulletin Web site, suggested on the site the cargo may have been missiles bound for the Mideast.

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Voitenko told The Moscow Times by telephone from Istanbul that he had been pressured into leaving Russia.

"Some serious guys hinted to me yesterday or the day before yesterday," Voitenko said. "They advised me to return in three or four months."

Asked if it was because of his role in the Arctic Sea case, Voitenko said, "Yes, it was because of the Arctic Sea."

The ship, flying under a Maltese flag, was seized with its 15 Russian crew members on July 24. It was freed off the west-African coast Aug. 17.

Voitenko contended on his Web site Russian authorities failed to give a plausible version of what happened.

The site first published a letter from relatives of the crew calling on the Russian government to intervene.

Once the ship was liberated, Voitenko published questions about why hijackers would take a ship reportedly carrying only $1.8 million in timber and why the crew could not contact relatives for more than a week after arriving in Moscow.

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A top European Union official said this week Israel may have intercepted the cargo ship because it was carrying Russian missiles bound for the Middle East.

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