Washington, D.C. — A blogger from eastern Ukraine who contributes to the Ukrainian Service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), known locally as Radio Svoboda, has been reported missing since June 2.
Colleagues, family, and friends of Stanislav Aseyev, who writes under the name Stanislav Vasin, say they have had no contact with him by phone, online, or otherwise for more than one week.
Former Member of Parliament Yehor Firsov, a long-time acquaintance of Aseyev’s, alleged in a June 6 Facebook post that Aseyev had been seized in Donetsk and forcibly held by Russia-backed separatist forces controlling the region, information he repeated in a June 7 Facebook post and a June 10 Українська правда (Ukrayinska Pravda) blog post, citing “unofficial sources.”
The National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU) requested today (June 12) that the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in eastern Ukraine and International Committee of the Red Cross determine Aseyev’s current status and whereabouts.
RFE/RL Editor in Chief Nenad Pejic said that Aseyev’s detention, if true, is “deeply alarming and lawless,” and that he fears the blogger’s life could be at risk. “We demand that he be released immediately and that his safety be guaranteed.”
Aseyev, who has referred to his efforts to chronicle daily life under conditions of war in the Donetsk region as “my education,” publishes unflinching texts and photos about current news and military developments, and posts about shopping, entertainment, and culture both in separatist and non-separatist controlled cities. He has also covered sensitive issues relating to the conflict, including reactions among Donetsk residents to the apparent assassination in October 2016 of the notorious Russia-backed separatist commander known as “Motorola.”
Aseyev also reports for other Ukrainian publications, including Зеркало недели (Mirror Weekly) and Тиждень (The Ukrainian Week).
Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty is a private, independent international news organization whose programs — radio, Internet, television, and mobile — reach influential audiences in 23 countries, including Russia, Ukraine, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the republics of Central Asia and the Caucasus. It is funded by the U.S. Congress through USAGM.
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Contact Martins Zvaners
Deputy Director of Media and Public Affairs, Washington, DC