Freed Vice journalist may return to eastern Ukraine

Vice | CBC

Vice News journalist Simon Ostrovsky was beat up and threatened during his four day detention in Sloviansk in eastern Ukraine, he wrote Friday for Vice. But, he wrote, “as it turns out, I had it pretty easy, because I was let go.”

In the four nights that I was held captive, a dozen other nameless detainees were ferried in and out of the cellar of the Ukraine state security (SBU) building by the pro-Russia militants who had taken it over. Some were journalists, some were drunks, and others were Ukrainian activists stupid or brave enough to visit what’s become a stronghold for Russian nationalists within Ukraine.

I only got to know a few of them. Most had been in that cellar far longer than I had. They had been there for up to two weeks, and are most likely still there now.

CBC News ran an interview with Ostrovsky on Thursday.

Did they explain why you were there? Ostrovsky was asked.

“They said that basically I’m a lying journalist and that’s why I was there,” Ostrovsky said.


On Thursday, Reporters Without Borders called for the release of journalists held in Ukraine, including Yevgen Gapych, Artem Deynega and Sergei Lefter.

“These latest abductions have taken attacks on journalists to a new, intolerable level. Not only is their safety at stake but also the intimidatory signal being sent to all news providers is unacceptable. The leaders of the ‘People’s Republic of Donetsk’ must urgently stop this escalation. We reiterate our call to all parties to the conflict to stop taking journalists hostage, to respect their neutrality and to guarantee their protection.”

In the CBC interview, Ostrovsky said he’d come back to the area if he got press credentials from the mayor, “now that they know me.”

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