The Israeli embassy in Kiev is communicating with Ukrainian authorities in the eastern city of Slovyansk regarding an American-Israeli journalist being held by pro-Russia separatists. Simon Ostrovsky, a reporter for global news channel Vice News, holds dual Israeli-American citizenship and was abducted Tuesday, according to Ukrainian media reports.
Vyacheslav Ponomarev, the “People’s Mayor” of Slovyansk, said that Ostrovsky was detained for reporting false information that was “destabilizing for us,” reported the Russian news outlet Gazeta.ru. Initial reports were mixed, and at one point Ponomarev backtracked, saying that “no one holds [Ostrovsky] hostage.”
But pro-Russian separatists on Wednesday confirmed they did detain Ostrovsky, the Jerusalem Post reported.
Vice News issued a statement that the organization “is aware of the situation and is in contact with the United States State Department and other appropriate government authorities to secure the safety and security of our friend and colleague.”
The Israeli Foreign Ministry said the Israeli embassy is “looking into the matter, seeing what is known, what the local police know.” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki also expressed concern at the detainment of Ostrovsky and others in eastern Ukraine.
“We call for their immediate release and call on Russia to use its influence to ensure they area freed immediately,” Psaki said, Reuters reported.