On Friday, a day after his release, Vice reporter Simon Ostrovsky published a brief description of his four nights and three days as a captive of pro-Russian militants in eastern Ukraine.
“On Monday night I was pulled out of a car at a checkpoint, then blindfolded, beaten, and tied up with tape,” Ostrovsky wrote. “After spending hours alone on the floor of a damp cell with my hands tied behind my back and a hat pulled over my eyes, I was led into a room where I was accused of working for the CIA, FBI, and Right Sector, the Ukrainian ultra-nationalist group.”
According to Ostrovsky, he was hit with a truncheon after refusing to give his captors the password to his laptop, and woken from sleep by masked men who kicked him in ribs. He was held in the cellar of the Ukraine state security building, which the militants had taken over.
Ostrovsky said he was given no explanation for his release. Compared to the other detainees he encountered in the cellar, Ostrovsky wrote, “I had it pretty easy, because I was let go.”
He described his fellow detainees as journalists, drunks, and Ukrainian activists “stupid or brave enough to visit what’s become a stronghold for Russian nationalists within Ukraine.” Some had been in the cellar for as long as two weeks. Ostrovsky also used the opportunity to name some of those he met.
“Their names are Artyom Deyneha, a local computer programmer who was caught setting up a webcam opposite the building where we were being held; Serhiy Lefter, a freelance journalist who was abducted on the main square in Sloviansk in broad daylight; Vadim Sukhonos, a deputy in the Sloviansk city council; and Vitaly Kovalchuk, a former member of the Euromaidan self-defense corps, who by his own admission came to Sloviansk with a group of Right Sector radicals who tried and failed to capture guns from pro-Russia militants,” Ostrovsky wrote.
Ostrovsky called for the release of “[e]veryone being illegally held in that damp cellar, or any of the other buildings controlled by the self-proclaimed ‘Donetsk People’s Republic.'”