A Ukrainian digital broadcaster said one of its reporters in the southeast of the country has gone missing and is believed to be held by Russian forces.
The broadcaster, Hromadske, said reporter Victoria Roshchina was last heard from on March 12, a day after filing a story from the Russian-occupied town of Enerhodar.
Ukraine’s Human Rights Commissioner Liudmyla Denisova said Saturday the government believed she had been kidnapped by Russian forces in the town of Berdiansk, which is on the Black Sea coast and also under Russian occupation.
Hromadske is a small broadcasting station that started in 2013 and is associated with the Maidan protests in Kyiv that began that year.
Roshchina’s disappearance comes amid reports of other activists and officials being held against their will in other parts of Russian-occupied Ukraine.
In Kherson region, a senior council official in the town of Nova Kakhovka was abducted three days ago, according to the town’s mayor. The wife of Dmytro Vasyliev said on her Facebook page that her husband had been detained because of his negative attitude toward Russia.
Ukrainian officials have said Russia wants to create a Kherson People’s Republic in the style of the pro-Russian statelets set up around Donetsk and Luhansk in 2014 and are demanding local councillors promote the move.
More: Elsewhere in Ukraine, Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov was freed from detention by Russian forces as part of a prisoner swap, Ukraine’s Center for Strategic Communications and Information Security said in a statement Thursday. Fedorov was taken to Luhansk after his detention and held for five days.
Also, Viktor Tereshchenko, mayor of the Velykoburlutska community in Ukraine’s northeastern region of Kharkiv, has been released, according to a video message from Kharkiv Regional State Administration’s head Oleh Syniehubov on Friday. On Thursday, Syniehubov said Tereshchenko was “captured” by Russian forces.
And on Sunday, Yevhen Matveyev, the leader of Dniprorudne, a small city north of Melitopol, was abducted by Russian troops, according to Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba. CNN could not independently confirm the claim.
According to human rights organization ZMINA, about 17 people have been detained by Russian forces in Ukraine since the start of the war.