Accessibility links

Breaking News


Crimean activist Olha Pavlenko

KYIV -- Olha Pavlenko, an activist from Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula, has fled the Russian-occupied region after her home in Simferopol was searched by Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) and she was questioned by agents from Russia's Investigative Committee.

A Crimea-based correspondent from Ukraine's Hromadske Radio, Mykhaylo Batrak, said on September 2 that he also fled the Russian-occupied region with Pavlenko after she was investigated over alleged ties with "a terrorist organization in Ukraine."

Batrak said on September 2 that he and Pavlenko initially went to the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson, which is adjacent to the territory seized by Russian military forces and illegally annexed by the Kremlin in 2014.

Pavlenko, an activist of the Ukrainian Culture Center in the Crimean capital of Simferopol, told RFE/RL that FSB agents searched her home on August 29 -- confiscating her mobile phone, flash-memory cards, and notebooks containing poems and songs.

Pavlenko said FSB agents told her she was suspected of having ties to Ukraine's nationalist Right Sector, a group that Russia has banned as a "terrorist" organization.

Pavlenko said she was interrogated by the Investigative Committee shortly after her home was searched.

The Ukrainian Culture Center in Crimea is a group that promotes Ukrainian culture and language in the region.

Its activists have been under pressure since Russian military forces seized the Ukrainian territory in 2014.

One of the center's leaders, Leonid Kuzmin, fled Crimea in 2017 after he received anonymous threats and was pressured by police.

Russian-imposed authorities in Crimea have prosecuted and imprisoned several Ukrainians on what rights activists say are trumped-up, politically motivated charges.

In March 2017, the European Parliament called on Russia to free more than 30 Ukrainian citizens imprisoned or detained in Russia, Crimea, and parts of eastern Ukraine that are controlled by Russia-backed separatists.

With reporting by Ukrayinska Pravda and Hromadske
Mykola Shytyuk speaks at a conference on the Holodomor at the Mykolayiv State Regional Universal Scientific Library on November 9, 2013.

Prominent Ukrainian historian Mykola Shytyuk has been found dead in his home city of Mykolayiv, police said on September 2.

Police said the historian’s body was found in an apartment on September 1 and bore signs of violence, including stab wounds.

A murder investigation has been launched.

Shytyuk was known for his works on the Holodomor famine that killed millions in Ukraine in the early 1930s.

The Holodomor took place in 1932-33 as Soviet authorities forced peasants in Ukraine to join collective farms by requisitioning their grain and other foodstuffs.

Historians say the seizure of the 1932 crop in Ukraine by Soviet authorities was the main cause of the famine.

Ukraine and about a dozen other countries have recognized the famine as an act of genocide against the Ukrainian people.

Moscow has long denied any systematic effort to target Ukrainians, arguing that a poor harvest at the time wiped out many in other parts of the then-Soviet Union.

The Day of Remembrance for the victims of the famine is marked in Ukraine every year on the fourth Saturday of November.

Based on reporting by RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service, TASS, and

Load more

About This Blog

"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.


Journalists In Trouble

RFE/RL journalists take risks, face threats, and make sacrifices every day in an effort to gather the news. Our "Journalists In Trouble" page recognizes their courage and conviction, and documents the high price that many have paid simply for doing their jobs. More