Detained Vice journalist Simon Ostrovsky released in east Ukraine
Simon Ostrovsky, a journalist for the New-York-based Vice News, has been freed by self-defense forces in Slavyansk, eastern Ukraine, after spending several days in detention.
Ostrovsky, who was detained on April 21, was finally released on
“Vice News is delighted to confirm that our colleague and friend Simon Ostrovsky has been safely released and is in good health. We would like to thank everyone for their support during this difficult time,” Jake Goldman, deputy communications director for Vice Media said in a statement. “Out of respect for Simon and his family’s privacy, we have no further statement at this time.”
I'm out and safe. Thank you all for your support. Had no idea I had so many good friends.
— Simon Ostrovsky (@SimonOstrovsky) April 24, 2014
Vice journalist @simonostrovsky freed currently on way to Donetsk (via @belangerjf) http://t.co/VEWkRrxJ8epic.twitter.com/DLW5kPIGYx
— RT (@RT_com) April 24, 2014
Ostrovsky was sent to Slavyansk to cover the pro-federalization
protest there. Prior to his detention, he had interviewed
Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, the so-called ‘people’s mayor’ of
Slavyansk, appointed by protesters. Ostrovsky questioned
allegations put forward by Ponomaryov which laid the blame for a
deadly attack at a checkpoint on the ultra-nationalist Right
Ponomaryov explained that protesters were not going to do the
journalist any harm. He added that Ostrovsky, who has dual US and
Israeli citizenship, was believed to be an informant for the
far-right Right Sector group, blamed for inciting violence in the
“Nobody abducted [him], nobody holds [him] hostage, he is now with us,” he later said at a news conference. Ponomaryov added that Ostrovsky was now “working, preparing materials.”
British reporter Graham Phillips attempted several times to help secure Ostrovsky’s release.
RT's stringer @GrahamWP_UK says @SimonOstrovsky is being held at #Slavyansk city hall, self-def forces say he will be free within minutes
— RT (@RT_com) April 22, 2014
The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović, quickly reacted to the situation by expressing concern over the security of journalists in eastern Ukraine. She called for Ostrovsky’s immediate release and urged an end to “the harassment and attacks on journalists” so they can “do their job.”