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RFE/RL Blogger Missing In Ukraine

Stanislav Vasin (Aseyev), a blogger and writer from Donetsk who contributes to RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service, was last heard from on June 2.

WASHINGTON -- A blogger from eastern Ukraine who contributes to the Ukrainian Service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) has been reported missing since June 2.

Colleagues, family, and friends of Stanislav Aseyev, who writes under the name Stanislav Vasin, say they have had no contact with him by phone, online, or otherwise for more than one week.

Former Member of Parliament Yehor Firsov, a long-time acquaintance of Aseyev’s, alleged in a June 6 Facebook post that Aseyev had been seized in Donetsk and forcibly held by Russia-backed separatist forces controlling the region, information he repeated in a June 7 Facebook post and a June 10 “Ukrayinska Pravda” blog post, citing “unofficial sources.”

The National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU) requested today (June 12) that the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in eastern Ukraine and International Committee of the Red Cross determine Aseyev’s current status and whereabouts.

RFE/RL Editor in Chief Nenad Pejic said that Aseyev’s detention, if true, is “deeply alarming and lawless,” and that he fears the blogger’s life could be at risk. “We demand that he be released immediately, and that his safety be guaranteed.”

Aseyev, who has referred to his efforts to chronicle daily life under conditions of war in the Donetsk region as “my education,” publishes unflinching texts and photos about current news and military developments, and posts about shopping, entertainment and culture both in separatist and non-separatist controlled cities. He has also covered sensitive issues relating to the conflict, including reactions among Donetsk residents to the apparent assassination in October, 2016 of the notorious Russia-backed separatist commander known as “Motorola.”

Vasin also reports for other Ukrainian publications, including Mirror of the Week and The Ukrainian Week.

RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service, with a monthly average of over 4 million visits to its website in 2017, provides independent, accurate reporting about eastern Ukraine and Crimea on its award-winning Donbas Realities and Crimea Realities websites, and investigates government corruption on its internationally acclaimed TV program, “Schemes.”