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U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Recognizes Persecuted RFE/RL Contributors In Ukraine

RFE/RL Ukrainian Service reporters Stanislav Aseyev, Mykola Semena, and Oleh Halazyuk.
RFE/RL Ukrainian Service reporters Stanislav Aseyev, Mykola Semena, and Oleh Halazyuk.

The U.S. Charge d'Affaires of the United States embassy in Ukraine Ambassador William Taylor has recognized the persecution by Russian authorities and Russia-backed separatists of RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service contributors Stanislav Aseyev, Mykola Semena, and Oleh Halazyuk.

Speaking at the American House in Kyiv on September 10 at the presentation of the film Undermining Freedom, created on the occasion of the 65th anniversary of RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service, Ambassador Taylor said, “Speaking of heroes, there are three of your colleagues – Stanislav Aseyev, Mykola Semena, and Oleh Halaziuk – who, unfortunately, are not with us today because they are in unfreedom.”

Commending the work of all journalists, he added that "journalists are fighting every day."

Editor in Chief and RFE/RL Vice President Daisy Sindelar, who attended the event, emphasized that for 65 years, the Ukrainian Service has been dedicated to conveying honest information to the Ukrainian people.

"It remains unchanged … that we are trying to be honest and give the most honest information to the Ukrainian people," she said.

On September 22, 2017 in Simferopol, the Kremlin-controlled Railway District Court handed RFE/RL contributor Mykola Semena a two-and-a-half year suspended sentence; a two-year ban on “public activity” that restricts him from engaging in journalism was added later. Semena was charged with “separatism” after publishing an opinion piece protesting Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2015.

Stanislav Aseyev, a columnist for the Service’s regional Donbas.Realii project, has been held incommunicado by Russia-backed separatists in Donetsk since mid-2017 on accusations of spying for Ukraine.

Oleh Halaziuk, another contributor to the Donbas.Realii project, who published a series of reports on the downing in 2014 of the Malaysian airliner MH-17, has been in the custody of the region’s Russia-backed separatists since August 2017. There is no information about his well-being, or the accusations against him.

Adapted from the original Ukrainian.