Vice Reporter Detained by Pro-Russian Forces in Ukraine

How It Works
April 22 2014 3:48 PM

Attacks on Journalists Continue in Russian-Occupied Ukraine

According to reports from journalists in the area, confirmed by the pro-Russian “mayor” of the eastern Ukrainian city of Slovyansk, American reporter Simon Ostrovsky and British cameraman Frederick Paxton of Vice magazine have been taken hostage by separatist forces. The magazine said in a statement that it is “aware of the situation and is in contact with the US State Department and other appropriate government authorities.”

(Confusingly, the mayor, Vyacheslav Ponomarev, also claimed to be taking a call in the middle of his press conference from Ostrovsky’s parents, saying their son was fine and still reporting from the area.)


Ostrovsky, a veteran reporter for a number of outlets, had been filing regular video reports from the region for Vice, including the one above on Ukrainian forces’ botched attempts to retake Slovyansk, which was posted on Sunday.

This just the latest is a series of attacks on the press by pro-Russian forces in the area, including the arrest of journalist and activist Irma Krat. Paxton himself was beaten by a pro-Russian crowd last week. The Committee to Protect Journalists has documented multiple cases of journalists being “assaulted, detained, or obstructed from reporting” in Russian-controlled Crimea.   

Slovyansk has been on the front lines of tensions between the two sides of the conflict. Ukrainian special forces and pro-Russian militia exchanged fire there last week, killing one Ukrainian officer. On Sunday three pro-Russian activists were killed at a skirmish near a checkpoint there.

News of Ovstrovsky’s detention also comes as Vice President Joe Biden is in Kiev, in his familiar role as reassurer, pleding American support and telling Ukrainians that “no nation has the right to simply grab land from another.”

Joshua Keating is a staff writer at Slate focusing on international affairs and writes the World blog. 



Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore, and Schools Are Getting Worried

The Good Wife Is Cynical, Thrilling, and Grown-Up. It’s Also TV’s Best Drama.

  News & Politics
Sept. 19 2014 9:15 PM Chris Christie, Better Than Ever
Sept. 19 2014 6:35 PM Pabst Blue Ribbon is Being Sold to the Russians, Was So Over Anyway
Atlas Obscura
Sept. 19 2014 1:10 PM Ascension Island: Home of Lava Fields, a False Forest, and the World's Worst Golf Course
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 3:07 PM Everything Is a "Women's Issue"
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 5:03 PM White House Chief Information Officer Will Run U.S. Ebola Response
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 5:09 PM Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?   A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.