Occupied territories of Ukraine: RSF calls on Russia to release a Ukrainian journalist and her colleagues who have been held in secret detention for nearly eight months

Ukrainian journalist Anastasia Hloukhovska has been held by Russia for almost eight months. She was arrested on 20 August 2023 along with several colleagues during a raid by Russian forces in the occupied part of the Zaporizhzhia region in south-eastern Ukraine, and her place of detention remains unknown. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) demands that she and her colleagues be released immediately

It was at a conference on the safety of journalists in Ukraine, organised by the Council of Europe in Kyiv on 9 April, that the name of Anastasia Hlukhovska, a journalist with the online media RIA-Melitopol, was mentioned for the first time in public since her arrest by Russian occupying forces in the southeastern city of Melitopol on 20 August 2023.

Her family initially said nothing about her arrest for safety reasons but RIA-Melitopol editor Svitlana Zalizetska finally decided to sound the alarm because of the lack of response from the Russian authorities regarding her place of detention, which makes her a victim of enforced disappearance.

Eight months after her arrest, Hlukhovska’s location remains unknown and her family has still not received any communication from her.

“The Russian-occupied Ukrainian territories are lawless zones for independent journalists. Those who refuse to collaborate are hunted down, arrested, and thrown in prison on trumped-up ‘spying’ charges. We condemn this persecution of RIA-Melitopol’s journalists and we urge the Russian occupation authorities to say where they are being held. Anastasia Hlukhovska and her colleagues must be released immediately.”

Jeanne Cavelier
Head of RSF’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk

Hlukhovska was one of several journalists and administrators of two Telegram news channels – RIA-Melitopol (operated by the RIA-Melitopol news site) and Melitopol Tse Ukraina (“Melitopol is Ukraine”) – who were arrested by the Russian occupation forces in Melitopol on 20 August 2023.

Two months later, in a video broadcast by Russian propaganda media outlets Rossiya 1 and Vesti.ru, the Russian authorities announced that they were holding “several members of intelligence groups coordinated by Ukraine’s defence ministry.” Heorhiy Levchenko and Yana Sovorova were named. Hlukhovska was not named but her family recognised her in the video. There has been no news of her since then.

All of these journalists are facing between 12 and 20 years in prison on a charge of “public calls for terrorist attacks, treason and espionage.” No trial has so far taken place and it is still not known where they are detained.

16 journalists held by Russia, one missing

In Ukraine’s occupied territories, the Russian authorities persecute local journalists who refuse to collaborate. According to RSF’s tally, Russia is currently holding a total of 16 Ukrainian journalists, of whom 12 were arrested in Crimea. A woman journalist is also missing.

61/ 180
Score : 65
162/ 180
Score : 29.86
Published on