Ukrainian reporter forced to film propaganda video before release
Victoria Roshchina, who works for independent media channel hromadske, had to deny she was being held captive
24 Mar 22

A Ukrainian journalist detained by Russia’s FSB while reporting on the invasion of the country has been forced to record a video saying that she had not been held captive and that her captors had actually saved her life before being released.

Victoria Roshchina, who works for the hromadske news channel, was released on 21 March, nine days after she went missing in the occupied city of Berdyansk en route to Mariupol. Four days after she went incommunicado, hromadske learned that she had been detained by Russia’s FSB security forces.

She has now returned to Zaporizhia, an area controlled by the Ukrainian government, where she will rejoin her worried family.

After her release, pro-Russian media and Telegram-channels shared a video in which Roshchina denied she had been held in captivity and that the officers had saved her life.

Her employer said that the video was filmed under coercion of the Russian occupiers and that the reporter would tell the true story in due course.

We reported about Roshchina’s reports from the front line and how she had been forced to hide from Russian tanks.

Although Roschina has been freed, the whereabouts of other journalists reporting from the front line is uncertain.

Renowned Ukrainian photojournalist and documentary filmmaker Maks Levin disappeared on 13 March in the Vishgorod district, near Kyiv. There had been intensive fighting in the area and  it is assumed he has been injured or captured by Russian troops.

Levin has worked for the BBC, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal and new website among others.

Index on Censorship calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all journalists held by the Russian forces and for all parties to ensure the safety of media reporting on the war.

By Mark Stimpson

Mark is associate editor at Index on Censorship