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Ukrainian Ex-Lawmaker Says Russia-Backed Separatists Confirm They Are Holding Blogger


Ukrainian blogger Stanislav Aseyev, aka Stanislav Vasin (file photo)

A former Ukrainian lawmaker says Russia-backed separatists in the eastern region of Donetsk have confirmed that they are holding a blogger who contributes to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL).

Yehor Firsov wrote on Facebook on July 16 that blogger Stanislav Aseyev's mother was allowed to visit him in separatist custody.

Firsov wrote that the separatists have accused Aseyev of espionage and threatened him with up to 14 years in prison.

Aseyev, who writes under the name Stanislav Vasin and contributes to RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service, went missing in Donetsk on June 2.

The separatists, who control parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, have repeatedly denied having any information about Aseyev.

RFE/RL Editor in Chief Nenad Pejic said earlier that Aseyev's detention, if true, was "deeply alarming and lawless" and demanded his immediate release.

Ukraine's National Union of Journalists, Reporters without Borders, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and Amnesty International have expressed concerns over Aseyev's whereabouts and said separatists must release him immediately if they are holding him.

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