Pro-Russian Forces Abduct CNN Journalist in Ukraine Over Facebook Post
A CNN frelancer has been dragged away by Ukrainian gunmen on accusations that he wrote a Facebook post they didn’t like. He was a translator and local guide who worked for many news organizations, and CNN is calling for his release after two days of being in the militants’ custody.
Armed men from the Donetsk People’s Republic [DPR] seized Anton Skiba outside a hotel in the separatist-controlled city of Donetsk after he had worked for one day with a CNN television crew.
Since his detention, CNN has attempted through a number of different separatist officials, including the office of the self-declared separatist prime minister Alexander Borodai, to secure Skiba’s freedom.
CNN chose not to report his abduction at the time while making efforts to obtain his release.
That has not happened to date, so CNN is now publicly asking those who are holding Skiba to release him immediately.
Armed fighters led by a senior official from the rebel region were waiting outside the Donbass Palace Hotel when CNN’s crew returned from a day’s work at the MH17 crash site on Tuesday evening.
The official, who later introduced himself as Alexandr Kalyussky, the deputy prime minister in charge of industry in the Donetsk People’s Republic, initially accused Skiba of “terrorism” and of posting cash rewards for the killing of separatist fighters on his Facebook page. Kalyussky showed a folder of printed documents that he claimed was evidence, including an apparent print-out of Skiba’s Facebook page.
Gunmen escorted Skiba to a waiting car. The young man did not resist as he was led away.
After CNN inquired about his condition, the charges changed from being accused of a seditious Facebook post, to having false identification.
The CNN report above includes details of other journalists who have gone missing while reporting on the situation in Ukraine.