Simon Ostrovsky Describes His Kidnapping: Russian Roulette In Ukraine (Dispatch Thirty One)
VICE News reporter Simon Ostrovsky tells the full story of his abduction and captivity in eastern Ukraine by pro-Russia forces.
On Monday April 21st, VICE News reporters Simon Ostrovsky and Freddie Paxton were stopped at a checkpoint by armed pro-Russia forces loyal to the self-proclaimed mayor of Sloviansk, Vyacheslav Ponomarev. They were pulled from their car, along with three other journalists they were traveling with. After a thorough search and questioning, Paxton and the three other journalists were released. Ostrovsky was held in a basement cell where he was blindfolded, beaten, and accused of being a spy. For days, his whereabouts were unknown, which sparked a furor among journalists in the region and people from around the world who have been following his work. On Thursday, April 24 Simon was suddenly released onto the streets of Sloviansk with little explanation.
In this dispatch, Simon tells the story of his abduction, his days in captivity, and why he thinks he was targeted by "mayor" Ponomarev.
First Video Evidence of Russians Among Ukrainian Separatists: Russian Roulette (Dispatch 30)
Just an hour before he was kidnapped by pro-Russia forces, VICE News correspondent Simon Ostrovsky interviewed two Russian Cossacks in Kramatorsk. One of the men showed Simon his Russian passport, which was the first confirmation VICE News has seen of Russians working with the separatists in Eastern Ukraine.
Simon Ostrovsky Questions "Mayor" of Sloviansk: Russian Roulette in Ukraine (Dispatch Twenty Nine)
Before VICE News correspondent Simon Ostrovsky was detained on April 21 and held by pro-Russia separatists in Sloviansk, he filed this dispatch featuring an interview with his future captor, the city's self-appointed "people's mayor," Vyacheslav Ponomarev. Simon was released on Thursday.
Simon went to Sloviansk to investigate reports of a shooting at a checkpoint outside of the city on Easter Sunday. At least three people were reportedly killed in the incident. Pro-Russia forces and Russian media outlets quickly blamed the Ukrainian nationalist group Right Sector for the assault. After interviewing local Ukrainian police, who couldn't confirm the number of deaths, Simon attended a briefing where he questioned Ponomarev directly about the alleged shooting.