Lviv journalist taken hostage for a second time
Yury Lelyavsky, a freelance journalist reporting for ZIK has once again been taken hostage by Kremlin-backed militants. According to a friend and fellow journalist Vlad Yakushev, this time he was seized in the Luhansk oblast where the anti-terrorist operation is underway.
Yakushev says that he received a phone call during the day saying that he was heading, together with priests from different denominations, to the front line “bringing the word of God”. He said that they had got to a checkpoint controlled by the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic militants, and had not been stopped. However at around 22.30 he received a text message saying that Lelyavsky was being taken to Perevalsk. “To Kozitsyn” [who heads the so-called Don Cossacks [from Russia]. There has been no contact with him since then.
ZIK reports that on Wednesday they had received photographs from the area of the anti-terrorist operation from Lelyavsky.
Lelyavsky has already been held hostage once, in Slovyansk. He was released, together with journalists Serhiy Leftner and Artem Deineha, in early May. His release was then only announced after Lelyavsky was safely back in Lviv, though he had been freed on May 9.
Lelyavsky was planning material for both ZIK and RIA Novosti, but was detained within an hour of arriving in Slovyansk. As reported earlier, it was indeed the case that he was detained because he had Lviv registration in his passport.
He was held hostage by the pro-Russian militants for 15 days, all the time in the SBU basement but in different rooms. For the first three days he was held in a cell by himself, and had to sleep on a board. Then, following the storming of the city (part of the authorities’ anti-terrorist operation), he was moved into a general room with around 10-12 other hostages who were changing all the time.