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Journalist Victoria Roshchyna goes missing in the occupied territories

04.10.2023, 16:01
Photo: Victoria Roshchyna on Facebook
Photo: Victoria Roshchyna on Facebook

Ukrainian reporter Victoria Roshchyna went missing on her trip to the occupied territories, reports The Daily Beast.

Family and friends say they have not heard from Victoria Roshchyna, 26, since August 3, when she was returning to Russian-occupied territory.

Her family fears she is being held by the Russians.

“To my daughter, journalism was the most important thing in her life, she was very devoted to her profession,” Volodymyr Roshchyn told The Daily Beast. “I asked her to slow down after her first captivity, I said, ‘Vika, I can pay your salary, just please don’t go to the front’ but she was firm, unstoppable—she was not able to stop covering the news of this war on the occupied territories for her readers.”

According to her father, Roshchyna set off from Ukraine to Poland on July 27 and was expected to reach Russian-occupied territories in eastern Ukraine—via Russia—three days later. When they spoke to her on August 3 she told them she had made it through days of border checks but did not tell them exactly where she was. She was first reported missing to the Ukrainian authorities on August 12. The family has also filed an official missing case with the Security Service of Ukraine, Ministry of Reintegration of the Temporary Occupied Territories of Ukraine, and the Ombudsman on September 21.

“The Ukrainian security service confirms to us that Victoria has been captured by Russia. Public officials tell us that there are many ‘frozen’ Ukrainian detainees in Russian jails, she might be among them,” Roshchyn told The Daily Beast.

Russian veteran campaigner Svetlana Gannushkina—one of the founders of the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize-winning Memorial human rights organization—said she had requested the whereabouts of Roshchyna from the office of Russia’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Tatyana Moskalkova. “Unfortunately, I have not received any response, yet,” she told The Daily Beast. “The answer can take more than a month, there are many requests.”

Sevgil Musaieva, the editor-in-chief of Ukrainska Pravda, has worked with Roshchyna over the past year and calls for the Ukrainian authorities to do everything in their power to find the journalist.

“She is a brave journalist, she commits to report the most controversial topics, which require courage,” she told The Daily Beast. “She is not a spy, she is a real journalist; she is not indifferent to the fate of people who remained in the occupied territories. It is important for her to tell their stories. I am calling for Ukrainian authorities to do everything to find her and for Russian authorities to immediately release journalist Victoria Roshchyna.”

As IMI reported, on March 11, 2022, Hromadske posted an article by Roshchyna reporting on the life in the temporarily occupied Enerhodar.

Back then, the journalist covered the combat operations in Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk oblasts. She planned to go all the way to Mariupol to report on what was really happening in the city, which had been under daily Russian shelling for over three weeks.

On March 16, it was reported that Victoria had been detained, probably by the Russian FSB. According to witnesses, at that time the journalist was in temporarily occupied Berdyansk.

On March 21, 2022, the Russian occupiers released the Hromadske journalist Victoria Roshchyna.

In November 2022, Victoria Roshchyna was shortlisted for the Courage in Journalism Awards.

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