Simon Ostrovsky Released In Ukraine, American Journalist Is ‘Free And Safe’ [PHOTO]

 @ZoeMintzz.mintz@ibtimes.com
on April 24 2014 1:26 PM
simon
Simon Ostrovsky, a journalist for the Brooklyn-based Vice News, is among seven journalists that have been detained in parts of eastern Ukraine during the ongoing conflict. Twitter

Simon Ostrovsky, a journalist for U.S.-based Vice News, was released from captivity in eastern Ukraine Thursday. The report comes from a tweet by Jean-Francois Belanger, a correspondent for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

According to Belanger, Ostrovsky is “free and safe” in the CBC’s car en route to Donetsk. The American journalist was captured Tuesday by pro-Russian insurgents at a checkpoint. He was reportedly held in Slovyansk.

“VICE News is delighted to confirm that our colleague and friend Simon Ostrovsky has been safely released and is in good health,” the news outlet stated. “We would like to thank everyone for their support during this difficult time.”

Nahlah Ayed, a foreign correspondent for CBC, has been tweeting updates since Ostrovsky’s release, saying he describes being “beaten and blindfolded” during his time in captivity.

Ostrovsky’s fate was unclear Wednesday when Vyacheslav Ponomarev, the self-appointed "people's mayor" of Slovyansk, said there were no plans to release him.

"We need prisoners," Ponomarev was quoted by Russia's Gazeta.ru as saying. "They take ours, drive them to Kiev, torture them. Well, we've done the same."

Jen Psaki, a U.S. State Department spokeswoman, said at the time that U.S. authorities were working through diplomatic channels to have the pro-Russian insurgents release Ostrovsky.

“We condemn any such actions, and all recent hostage-takings in eastern Ukraine, which directly violate commitments made in the Geneva joint statement,” she said, referring to the preliminary agreement to solve the crisis, signed last week in Switzerland. “We call on Russia to use its influence with these groups to secure the immediate and safe release of all hostages in eastern Ukraine.”

According to Stella Khoraeva, a spokeswoman for the pro-Russian insurgents, Ostrovsky’s kidnapping was planned and stems from his “incorrect way” of reporting.

“We knew where he was going and the men manning the checkpoint were told to look out for him,” Khoraeva told the Daily Beast.

In the wake of his release, Vice News published a video report Ostrovsky did on Monday, before his capture. In the dispatch, he interviews Ponomarev, who later became his captor.

 

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