Vice Reporter Detained In Ukraine Speaks With NBC

Simon Ostrovsky told "Today" his captors beat him several times, but he hopes to return to the region and report.
Posted at 4:28 PM, Apr 28, 2014

After being held captive in eastern Ukraine, Vice journalist Simon Ostrovsky spoke to NBC about his three-day ordeal.

"It felt like a really long time. ... I had no idea anybody knew where I was being held. ... I think the reason they took me was to stop me reporting, so I'd really like to go back."

Once released, Ostrovsky was met by a camera crew from Canada's CBC. They gave him a ride out of Slavyansk, where he had been held.

"If you can drive me home, it would be even more of an exclusive."

"Sure. How is the situation?"

"It's f-ed up. Spent four days in a basement with three or four other guys." (Via Vice)

According to Russian news site Gazeta, it was Slavyansk's pro-Russia militia who took Ostrovsky. Led by the mayor of Slavyansk, the group reportedly told the reporter's parents that "Nobody abducted him, nobody is holding him hostage, he's with us now in at the SBU, preparing material and working."

Ostrovsky and his cameraman had just finished interviewing a man who showed them his Russian passport — sensitive information in Ukraine — and was stopped at the last checkpoint before their hotel.

The Ukrainian kidnapping is the latest incident in an increasingly dangerous zone for journalists. Last week, Time reported one of its correspondents, along with four other reporters, was detained for an hour by a pro-Russia militia.

And it was Ostrovsky himself who had been tweeting about journalist mistreatment by Slavyansk's mayor hours before his kidnapping, writing, "Sloviansk pro-Russia 'mayor' threatens to throw journalist out for 'provocative' question."

Ostrovsky has stated his desire to return to the region, but for now Vice has declined to comment any further.