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Russia confirms detention of Ukrainian journalist Viktoria Roshchina

 JournalismPakistan.com |  Published May 31, 2024

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Russia confirms detention of Ukrainian journalist Viktoria Roshchina

NEW YORK—Russian authorities must immediately release Ukrainian journalist Viktoria Roshchina and end the practice of illegally detaining Ukrainian journalists in occupied territories, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Wednesday.

"CPJ strongly denounces Russian authorities' detention of journalist Viktoria Roshchina, who went missing 300 days ago while reporting in Russian-occupied Ukraine," said Gulnoza Said, CPJ's Europe and Central Asia program coordinator. "Russian authorities must immediately release Roshchina and stop detaining Ukrainian nationals. Journalists must be able to freely report on the war without fear of reprisal. Ukrainian authorities should include Ukrainian journalists captured by Russia in prisoner exchange plans to bring them home to safety."

The Russian Ministry of Defense confirmed in an April 17 letter to Roshchina's father that the journalist was detained and "currently in the territory of the Russian Federation," according to a May 27 report by the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU), a local advocacy and trade group.

"The most important is that Russia has officially recognized its responsibility for Viktoria's fate. We all need to make great efforts to see our colleague free. But this confirmation gives us a chance," NUJU’s head Sergiy Tomilenko told CPJ.

Roshchina’s detention was later confirmed by the International Committee of the Red Cross, which told her father that there was currently no access to her, NUJU reported.

Roshchina is a freelance reporter who has been covering the war in Ukraine for several Ukrainian media outlets, including independent Ukrainian news website Ukrainska Pravda, regional news website Novosti Donbassa, and privately owned news website Censor.net. She went missing on August 3, 2023, when she traveled to the occupied territories of eastern Ukraine to report on the situation there.

In March 2022, Roshchina was detained by Russian forces for 10 days while reporting in southeastern Ukraine. That same month, Russian forces in Ukraine’s southeastern Zaporizhzhia region fired on her vehicle.

CPJ’s emails to the Russian Ministry of Defense and the International Committee of the Red Cross about Roshchina did not receive an immediate response.

Multiple Ukrainian journalists have been detained in the Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine. The whereabouts of former journalist Iryna Levchenko, missing since early May 2023, of journalist Dmytro Khilyuk, detained in early March 2022, and of journalists Heorhiy Levchenko and Anastasiya Glukhovska, detained in August 2023, are still unknown.

Russia was the world’s fourth-worst jailer of journalists in CPJ's 2023 prison census, with at least 22 journalists behind bars as of December 1. - A CPJ statement/Photo courtesy Hromadske

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