Fears missing TV reporter is being 'held hostage' by Russian forces

A "courageous" Ukrainian reporter has been missing for over a week, with concerns she is being held captive by Russian forces.

Victoria Roshchyna, a journalist for Hromadske.ua – a digital broadcasting station in Ukraine – has not been seen since March 12.

Just days before she went missing, she alleged on Facebook she was robbed by Russian forces.

Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group said there are concerns she was "seized by the Russians" following the invasion and seizure of Berdiansk.

Ms Roshchyna was covering the war in eastern and southern Ukraine, following Russia's invasion in the days leading up to her disappearance, her workplace reported.

Pictured is Ukrainian reporter Victoria Roshchyna who is currently missing.
Ukrainian reporter Victoria Roshchyna has been missing since March 12. Source: Facebook

She had planned on reporting on military action in the Zaporizhya and Donetsk regions and it is believed she was travelling to Mariupol on March 11.

It hasn't been confirmed Ms Roshchyna ever made it to Mariupol, however there have been reports from witnesses she was in Berdiansk on March 12, a port city in the country's south-east which is currently under occupation.

There has been no contact with Ms Roshchyna since March 12, though Hromadske reported they learnt on March 15 she was detained by Russia's Federal Security Service.

"Currently, nothing is known about her whereabouts," Hromadske said.

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Friends, colleagues plead for journalist's safe return

Worried friends and colleagues have called for Ms Roshchyna's safe return.

"We call on the Ukrainian and international community to help us to find and release Victoria Roshchyna, Hromadske journalist," Hromadske said on Twitter.

"I know this fearless girl, she's always at the centre of events, as she belongs to journalists," a colleague of Ms Roshchyna said on her Facebook wall.

It is believed Victoria Roshchyna was captured by Russia's Federal Security Service. Source: Facebook
It is believed Victoria Roshchyna was captured by Russia's Federal Security Service. Source: Facebook

"My former colleague and friend Victoria Roschina is likely in Russian captivity. She was reporting on the war from the east and south of Ukraine. The world needs to unite to find her," another wrote.

"Sweetheart. I was so worried and praying for you. I told you they are not people and no ID will save. I didn't even expect that. Take care of yourself, fearless girl," a friend said.

Many of Ms Roshchyna's friends said she was courageous and fearless, and a brilliant journalist, while all were hoping she would be returned safely soon.

The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group said it was "very likely" Russia's Federal Security Service specifically targeted Ms Roshchyna.

'Never forgive Russia': Journalist's last Facebook post before disappearance

Just days before Ms Roshchyna disappeared, she wrote a Facebook post saying she would "never forgive Russia".

In it she detailed the destruction she witnessed in the Zaporizhzhya region – from burnt out cars to a man covered in burns.

She explains she then saw tanks with a white letter 'Z' and the Russian flag, heading directly towards her.

"The Russians actively began to work on us. Bullets and then baked shells. Luckily they flew by," she said.

"I gave the command to stop, drop the car and lay down in the field. But the columns walked on us and the rescue became an abandoned house, behind which the passage of Russian equipment was waited."

The reporter may have been targeted by Russian forces. Source: Facebook
The reporter may have been targeted by Russian forces. Source: Facebook

Fortunately, Ms Roshchyna and those she was with were rescued by "good people", but their car, which was labelled with a "press" sticker was robbed.

Her laptop, camera and backpack were stolen, meaning Ms Roshchyna was unable to convey information. She said the scariest thing about the occupation was the night.

Ms Roshchyna said she went to the war torn regions to tell people what was going on amid the war.

"In small villages and cities, the invaders feel themselves "heroes" – shoot at civilians, set fire to cars, kill, loot," she said.

"They turn people's lives into hell, traumatising children's psyche. They've taken my tech, but they won't take away the desire to tell the truth of their crimes.

"This time I was probably saved by a miracle. But I will never forgive Russia. Never. They will burn in hell. And will definitely be brought to justice."

Ms Roshchyna's disappearance and suspected capture happened days after American journalist Brent Renaud was shot dead in Ukraine.

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