By Kay Smythe
The United Nations has verified at least 36 Ukrainians detained by Russian forces.
Ukrainians have not received any information on the fate of their friends and family members and fear that Russia is ramping up their kidnapping efforts during the invasion of Ukraine, according to the BBC. Russia is struggling to assert or maintain control of the towns they’ve captured during their invasion, leading to kidnappings and detentions as forms of intimidation, the report continued.
Ukrainian journalist Viktoriia Roshchyna was taken from the city of Berdyansk by unidentified men March 15, the BBC reported. Her employer believes she was taken by Russia’s Federal Security Services (FSB). Roshchyna was subsequently released after a hostage-style video went viral on pro-Russia Telegram channels, according to the outlet.
Russian forces were also accused by a young journalist, Svetlana Zalizetska, of kidnapping and holding her 75-year-old father hostage, the report continued. (RELATED: Putin Allegedly Hiding Mistress And Their Children In Switzerland)
In Melitopol aged father of journalist Svetlana Zalizetska was taken hostage by probably FSB people. They say they will release him only if Svetlana gives herself up. She is not in Melitopol anymore. pic.twitter.com/9MDLdKTial
— Andrei Kurkov (@AKurkov) March 23, 2022
The man was allegedly taken as punishment for Zalizetska’s refusal to cooperate with Russians occupying the city of Melitopol, according to the BBC. Zalizetska claimed she received a phone call from her father’s captors who demanded she surrender herself.
The head of Ukraine’s National Union of Journalists, Sergiy Tomilenko, said that the forced detentions were “a wave of information cleansing” and “intimidation of journalists and public figures” in posts about Zalizetska and her father on his Twitter account, BBC noted.
The occupiers called the journalist to blackmail her with the freedom of her hostage father. Russian invaders are trying to silence Svetlana Zalizetska, a member of the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine. Free the journalist’s father from the basement! Stop fascism! @EFJEUROPE pic.twitter.com/Kbn3rjqwBw
— Sergiy Tomilenko (@Stommedia) March 23, 2022
A spokesperson for the UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights has not yet determined whether the kidnappings are part of a targeted list created by Russia’s security officials, but a “kill list” of Ukrainians has allegedly been developed by the invading nation, the BBC reported.
At least four journalists have been kidnapped by Russians thus far, the BBC noted. Civilians, public figures and members of the Ukrainian parliament are reportedly all at risk of kidnapping or execution as the Russian invasion continues.
Many journalists have fled Russia as the nation introduced a series of harsh censorship laws prohibiting coverage of Ukraine. Some of those who speak against Russian President Vladimir Putin have been labeled as “foreign agents.”