Ukrainian journalist Anton Skiba, who worked as a fixer for CNN, was abducted by pro-Russian separatists and is still in detention, Ivan Watson and Ingrid Formanek reported for CNN on Thursday.
Since his detention, CNN has attempted through a number of different separatist officials, including the office of the self-declared separatist prime minister Alexander Borodai, to secure Skiba’s freedom.
CNN chose not to report his abduction at the time while making efforts to obtain his release.
That has not happened to date, so CNN is now publicly asking those who are holding Skiba to release him immediately.
Graham Phillips, a British blogger working as a stringer for Russia Today, has also gone missing along with three others, RT reported. “The agency cites anonymous sources, saying the group of four was taken hostage by Ukrainian troops.”
In May, RT reported that Phillips was detained by the Ukrainian National Guard.
On Wednesday, the Committee to Protect Journalists reported on recent press violations in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine.
“Abductions and detentions of journalists and other violations of press freedom are happening at dizzying speed in eastern Ukraine,” CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said. “We call on all sides in the conflict to immediately release any journalists in their custody and halt all attempts to censor, obstruct, and intimidate the media.”
In a report Saturday, the International News Safety Institute reported that Ukraine was the most dangerous country for journalists so far for the year.
At least five members of the news media have been killed in the country’s east over the past two months. Veteran Russian cameraman Anatoly Klyan was killed when the bus he was travelling in, headed towards a Ukrainian military base, came under attack just north of Donetsk. Russian television journalist Igor Kornelyuk and sound engineer Anton Voloshin died after being hit by mortar fire while they were reporting near Lugansk. Italian journalist Andrea Ronchelli was killed alongside his Russian interpreter Andrey Mironov in May as they covered fighting between government forces and pro-Russian insurgents near Slaviansk.
Countless other journalists in the region have been threatened, attacked and kidnapped.