CNN Journalist Abducted by Pro-Russian Forces in Ukraine


Two days ago, a Ukrainian journalist working as a freelancer for CNN was abducted by pro-Russian separatists near the city of Donetsk, which is under control of separatists. The journalist, Anton Skiba, remains in detention.

Skiba had worked with a CNN film crew for one day before he was confronted by armed men for the self-professed Donetsk People’s Republic. CNN did not immediately report the abduction as they first made efforts to have him released.

Armed fighters and a senior separatist official were waiting outside the Donbass Palace Hotel when CNN’s film crew, Skiba included, returned from a day of shooting at the MH17 crash site on Tuesday evening.

The official, identified as Alexandr Kalyussky, the deputy prime minister in charge of industry of the Donetsk People’s Republic, began accusing Skiba outside the hotel. He accused him of terrorism and of posting cash rewards for the murder of separatist fighters on his Facebook page, even brandishing a folder full of so-called evidence, including a print-out of Skiba’s Facebook page.

The gunmen then led Skiba away to a nearby waiting car. He did not resist the arrest. Since the arrest, the charges changed from being accused of a treasonous Facebook post to having false identification.

Kalyussky also seized a cell phone from cameraman Jeff Kehl for using it to film the detention. Kalyussky later apologized and returned the cell phone to Kehl on condition that the video be deleted.

CNN officials have attempted to recover the journalist through a number of separatist officials, including separatist Prime Minister Alexander Borodai. Since there are no results so far, CNN is now publicly asking Skiba’s captors to release him immediately.

Perhaps most tragically, Skiba isn’t the first journalist to be abducted or go missing while reporting on the current situation in Ukraine. A full list of similar incidents can be found on CNN.