Ukraine: RSF concerned about the disappearance of a freelance journalist heading for the occupied territories

The family of Victoria Roshchyna, a contributor to Ukrainska Pravda, announced her disappearance at the beginning of October. The journalist has not been heard from since 3 August, when she was on a reporting trip via Russia to the illegally occupied Ukrainian territories. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is concerned about her situation and calls for urgent action to find her.

Victoria Roshchyna left last July to report on the lives of Ukrainians under Russian occupation, but she has not been seen since. This was publicly revealed on 4 October 2023 by her family, in the columns of the American online media The Daily Beast and the independent Ukrainian news site Ukrainska Pravda, for which Victoria Roshchyna mostly reports.

Aged 26, Victoria Roshchyna left Ukraine on 27 July in order to travel via Poland to Russia and, from there, to enter occupied Ukrainian territory with the aim of describing what life is like for Ukrainians under Russian occupation.

In the phone call to her family on 3 August, she reported that she had managed to pass through border posts but did not specify where she was currently located. This was her family’s last contact with her.

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) told her family that she may have been captured by Russian occupation forces. The SBU told RSF that it had no further information to provide.

“Reporter Victoria Roshchyna’s disappearance is extremely worrying. We have no information about her current whereabouts, and we know that Ukrainian journalists working for independent media in the occupied territories are being hunted down by Russian forces. It is essential that the Ukrainian authorities urgently coordinate efforts to find her.

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

Victoria Roshchyna’s family reported her disappearance to the Ukrainian authorities on 12 August. The family then filed a formal missing person’s report on 21 September with the SBU, the Ministry for the Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine, and the Ukrainian Ombudsman.

Victoria Roshchyna was abducted by Russian forces on 12 March 2022 while working for the independent news site Hromadske in Berdiansk, in occupied southeastern Ukraine. She was released nine days later.

In 2022, Roshchyna received the Courage in Journalism award from the International Women’s Media Foundation.

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