A pro-Maidan Ukrainian journalist was reportedly arrested by Pro-Russian militia in the eastern city of Slavyansk on Sunday under charges of “war crimes.
An eigh-second video posted to Twitter by Time magazine reporter Simon Shuster shows a woman being detained by pro-Russian separatists, and Shuster claims the woman in it is journalist Imra Krat.
According to Shuster, Krat is being held at the Security Service of Ukraine outpost in Slavyansk. Her captors are not allowing her to speak with anyone but Russian media.
Russian newsreel of Irma Krat, blindfolded. Separatist says she will be held pending investigation for "war crimes" http://t.co/xZ4DdOQUAw
â€” Simon Shuster (@shustry) April 20, 2014
According to roughly translated Russian reports, Krat is being held for her alleged actions against Berkut special police during the Euromaidan protests. The Berkut was the elite police force suspected of killing nearly 100 demonstrators when the protests came to a head. Outrage over the Berkut’s actions fueled the eventual overthrow of Viktor Yanukovych’s government.
The Berkut was disbanded by the transitional Ukrainian government after Yanukoych was ousted from power. Many former Berkut officers joined the pro-Russian contingent in the eastern part of the country.
Krat’s Facebook page features a picture of her with a group of people wearing armbands with a logo used by the now defunct Social-National Party of Ukraine. The party was an extreme nationalist party limited to only ethnic Ukrainians, and the name was chosen as a deliberate reference to Adolf Hitler’s National Socialist Party, or Nazi Party.
The Social-National Party eventually morphed into the less radicalized Svoboda Party, which has played a key role in the Euromaidan movement. Some people claim Svoboda is still a fascistic and anti-Semitic organization, but the party actively denies that.
Another far-right nationalist organization, Right Sector, is being blamed for the deadly attack at a checkpoint outside the same eastern city Krat was arrested in. One of Moscow’s most common accusation against the new Ukrainian government is that it is made up of fascists, and fear of fascism is common in eastern Ukraine.
There is no confirmation that Krat has any ties to right-wing or fascist groups outside of likely interactions as a reporter. Shuster and fellow reporters are asking for help contacting Krat’s family, who is possibly still unaware of her arrest, that some are calling a kidnapping.