Russia calls on Poroshenko to free detained journalists

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's Foreign Ministry called on new Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko on Saturday to act by "the principles of a democratic society" and release two Russian journalists detained in the east of the country.

In Russia's first official statement after Poroshenko was sworn in, the foreign ministry acknowledged his inauguration but made no comment on his assertive first speech, in which he said Ukraine would not give up its right to Crimea, annexed by Russia in March.

It focused instead on the detention of the journalists from the 'Star' television channel, who Ukrainian authorities said had been detained on Friday on suspicion of carrying out surveillance activity.

"We demand from Kiev to take immediate measures for an unconditional release of the ... Russian citizens and to act from now on by the principles of a democratic society, the commitment to which was stated in the inaugural speech of P. Poroshenko on assuming the office of president of Ukraine," the ministry said in a statement.

Referring to the treatment of journalists, it said: "It is difficult to escape the impression that certain forces in Ukraine are clearly not interested in a peaceful settlement of the political crisis in the country."

(Reporting by Lidia Kelly; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)