A contract reporter for Radio Free Europe/Radio Free Liberty, an organization funded by the U.S. government has been captured by pro-Russian rebels in East Ukraine, according to a prominent activist with Human Rights Watch.
Stanyslav Aseyev, a freelance contributor to US-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Free Europe’s Ukrainian service has been missing since June 2 in the rebels’ self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic in eastern Ukraine. His disappearance gives “strong grounds to be concerned that local security officials have forcibly disappeared him,” Tanya Lokshina, Russia programme director at Human Rights Watch, reported AFP.
“The de-facto authorities should immediately end his forcible disappearance by acknowledging his detention, and release him,” said Lokshina.
“Aseyev did not come home and no longer answered phone calls. The connection with him was lost. The last time he contacted his mother was on the afternoon of June 2,” said Aseyev’s friend, Ukrainian lawmaker, Yegor Firsov.
Journalist groups have documented prior instances of rebels kidnapping influential press with pro-Kyiv views in the Donbass region. Aseyev worked for multiple news outlets and used the name Stanyslav Vasin for security reasons. Relatives went to his flat in Donetsk and reported it had been searched and his computer taken.