US Journo Held in Ukraine

Pro-Russia insurgents confirm they're holding Vice News reporter

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Apr 23, 2014 8:38 AM CDT

(Newser) – Pro-Russian gunmen in eastern Ukraine admitted today that they are holding an American journalist who has not been seen since early yesterday. Simon Ostrovsky, a journalist for Vice News, has been covering the crisis in Ukraine for weeks and was reporting about groups of masked gunmen seizing government buildings in one eastern Ukrainian city after another. Members of the nationalist Right Sector movement have also been occupying two buildings in the capital Kiev for months, but authorities have said the priority is to get the gunmen in eastern Ukraine to vacate the buildings they hold.

Stella Khorosheva, a spokeswoman for the pro-Russian insurgents in the eastern city of Slovyansk, confirmed today that Ostrovsky was being held at the local branch of the Ukrainian security service that they seized more than a week ago. "He's with us. He's fine," Khorosheva told the AP. When asked why Ostrovsky was held captive, Khorosheva said he is "suspected of bad activities" which she refused to explain. She says the insurgents are holding Ostrovsky pending their own investigation. Vice News said it "is in contact with the US State Department and other appropriate government authorities to secure the safety and security of our friend and colleague, Simon Ostrovsky."

In this photo taken on Sunday, April 13, 2014, reporter Simon Ostrovsky stands next to a Pro-Russian gunman at a seized police station in the Ukraine town of Slovyansk.   (Efrem Lukatsky)
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