After being abducted Tuesday by pro-Russian militants in eastern Ukraine, Vice reporter Simon Ostrovsky has been released.
A CBC reporter who picked Ostrovsky up after his release confirmed the Vice reporter is in good health. Ostrovsky was taken captive at a checkpoint in Slavyansk Tuesday, and held at a Ukrainian security building which had been seized by pro-Russian protesters. (Via Twitter / @belangerjf)
"Sort of beat me up as an introduction to the whole situation, blindfolded me, tied my hands behind my back. ... They untied me totally and then basically I was just hanging out in the room with the other prisoners." (Via CBC)
Ostrovsky has been one of the most visible reporters covering Ukraine's crisis, largely because of his daring, provocative interviews with pro-Russian militants and protesters. His latest report for Vice features a confrontational exchange with Slavyansk's new pro-Russian "people's mayor".
It's that confrontational style that might have made Ostrovsky a target. A spokeswoman for the pro-Russian militants in Slavyansk told The Daily Beast, "We knew where he was going, and the men manning the checkpoint were told to look out for him. ... He was not reporting in a correct way."
Media suppression and intimidation has become an ongoing problem in eastern Ukraine. The OSCE international monitoring mission in the region confirmed two other reporters went missing this week, and several others have been verbally or physically harassed.
Vice confirmed Ostrovsky's release and well-being in a statement on their website, but did not comment further for privacy reasons.