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American Journalist Held in Ukraine Freed

  • Catherine Maddux

In this photo taken on April 13, 2014, American reporter Simon Ostrovsky, right, stands with a pro-Russian gunman near a police station in the eastern Ukrainian town of Slovyansk.

In this photo taken on April 13, 2014, American reporter Simon Ostrovsky, right, stands with a pro-Russian gunman near a police station in the eastern Ukrainian town of Slovyansk.

American journalist Simon Ostrovsky has been freed after being held for three days by pro-Russian separatists in the town of Slovyansk in eastern Ukraine.

VICE News, the media organization that he reports for, released the following the statement on Thursday.

"VICE News is delighted to confirm that our colleague and friend Simon Ostrovsky has been safely released and is in good health. We would like to thank everyone for their support during this difficult time. Out of respect for Simon and his family's privacy, we have no further statement at this time."

Ostrovsky is known for his compelling first-person dispatches from Crimea and, more recently, in eastern Ukraine. Until his release, he was among a number of journalists being held in the region, according to the Committee to Protect journalists.


Pro-Russian separatists defended his detainment earlier this week, saying it was based on "war rules.” The reporter was covering a press conference by Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, the self-appointed "People's Mayor" of the Slovyansk, before he disappeared after being stopped at a checkpoint.

More recently, he filed for VICE News from Crimea during its annexation by Russia, and then later, from eastern cities and towns where armed pro-Russian separatists haven taken over local government buildings.

I spoke with Ostrovsky earlier this month for an article on Russian President Vladimir Putin. During the interview, Ostrovsky spoke about his work – and the toll of covering such tension-filled stories.

“We did have a lot of fun. I mean, it was really exciting to be there and to witness history. But it was super, super tiring and extremely stressful. And to be honest, by the end of it, I just wanted to go somewhere and take a break.”

Ostrovsky, who has covered conflicts in Central Asia and the Middle East, previously worked for Al Jazeera English, the BBC and AFP.

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