Russian forces have reportedly kidnapped a young Ukrainian journalist hours after her car was shot at. Victoria Roshchina, who has been reporting from Ukraine since Russia's invasion last month was allegedly kidnapped by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), her colleagues said.
Liudmyla Denisova, Ukraine's Human Rights Commissioner, said on Saturday that the government suspected she had been kidnapped by Russian forces near Berdiansk, which is also under Russian occupation on the Black Sea coast. So far, two journalists and one cameraman have died in Ukraine while covering the war. Besides a Ukrainian news producer also died earlier last week from Russian shelling.
Roshchina was working for the Ukrainian tabloid Hromadske. The publication said that they were informed on March 16 that she had been detained by the Russian FSB the day before. The reason behind her detention isn't known.
Ukrainian authorities and the publication now believe that Roshchina was not detained but actually kidnapped because she was reporting the truth. Roshchina's whereabouts are unknown, and the magazine has appealed to the international community to assist in uncovering more information that could lead to her release.
Interestingly there was also an attack on her jest before her sudden disappearance. Roshchina had been preparing materials about Russian troop operations in the Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk districts just before her claimed captivity.
She had just returned from Energodar, in Zaporizhzhia, where Russian forces had taken control of Europe's largest nuclear power facility.
According to her colleagues, at the time of her disappearance or when her colleagues lost communication with her, Roshchina was going to fly to the besieged city of Mariupol where hundreds of thousands of people without running water, heating, or electricity.
On March 12, witnesses said she was last seen in the coastal city of Berdyansk, 45 miles southwest of Mariupol.
It seems there is a lot more to her disappearance than just her hardcore reporting form Ukraine. "We have made every effort to release the journalist in a private matter. But it turned out to be ineffective," her publication said in a statement.
"Therefore, we call on the Ukrainian and international community to join in the information and actions to the release of Hromadske journalist Victoria Roshchina."
In Roshchina's most-recent Facebook post on March 8, she wrote: "I will never forgive Russia." She described how she came across a "column of Russian tanks" in the Zaporizhzhia region.
"On the road, I saw a burned car, a little further - another with a burnt body of a man next to me."
In fact, Roshchina came under attack from Russian army and her car was fired upon just days before her kidnapping.
Before her disappearance, she claimed that despite having a clear sign reading 'Press,' the Russians fired on their vehicle, forcing them to abandon it and hide in a field, where they were finally rescued by bystanders. Her laptop, camera, rucksack, and smokes were all seized by Russian forces when she returned to her car, she added, and they attempted to flee on foot in the dark.
"The scariest thing in the occupation is the night," she said. Denouncing the Russians, she added: "In small villages and cities, the invaders feel themselves 'heroes' - shoot at civilians, set fire to cars, kill, loot.
And after that she disappeared. Ukrainian MP Lesia Vasylenko said the Russians were using "terrorist tactics to install puppet regimes at a local level".