Ukrainian Media and Activists Under Attack, Five Missing in Crimea

Ukrainian Media and Activists Under Attack, Five Missing in Crimea

Radio Free Europe is reporting there are five journalists and Ukrainian activists missing in Crimea. The latest are Andriy Shchekun, head of Crimea’s Ukrainian Council, and Anatolyy Kovalskiy, director of board of trustees of the Ukrainian School in Simferopol.

According to information gathered by RFE/RL, Shchekun and Kovalskiy were apprehended at Simferopol’s train station, where they had gone to pick up a parcel from Kyiv.

Several men who identified themselves as vigilantes and members of Russian Unity, the party headed by Crimea’s new pro-Russia Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov, reportedly searched the pair before escorting them to the railway station’s police department.

A second group of men eventually picked up the activists after police officers declined to formally detain them.

Russia is in complete control of Crimea, an autonomous republic of Ukraine. Pro-Russian residents and armed forces have seized Ukrainian military bases, border patrols, ferry terminals, and hospitals. Crimeans will vote on March 16 to decide if they want to remain a part of Ukraine or join the Russian Federation.

March 9 was a violent day for Crimea. Pro-Russians interrupted a peaceful pro-Ukrainian rally and viciously attacked the protesters. Two journalists and a spokeswoman for AutoMaidan, a group of motorists who support the Kyiv protests, also went missing.

Russia set up checkpoints at the Ukraine and Crimea border, and Radio Free Europe says there are many unconfirmed reports of journalists detained at these places.

Interfax-Ukraine reports Ukrainian television channels are disrupted, while Russian television channels work perfectly fine. 


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