war crimes in Ukraine

The Tribunal for Putin (T4P) global initiative was set up in response to the all-out war launched by Russia against Ukraine in February 2022.

Russia finally admits to holding journalist Victoria Roshchyna almost a year after abducting her from occupied Ukraine

Halya Coynash
Russia has not provided any information about where the young journalist is being held and why, and is blocking any contact with her

Victoria Roshchyna Photo posted by Radio Svoboda

Victoria Roshchyna Photo posted by Radio Svoboda

Almost a year after Ukrainian journalist Victoria Roshchyna disappeared while carrying out an investigation in occupied Ukraine, Russia’s defence ministry has admitted that she is in Russian captivity.  No further information was given, and Russia is illegally refusing to allow the International Committee of the Red Cross [ICRC] to see her.

The Russian defence ministry letter appears to state only that Roshchyna (b. 1996) is “detained and is currently on the territory of the Russian Federation”.  There is nothing to indicate why she was detained and what, if any, charges have been formally laid.  In reporting this, Ukraine’s National Union of Journalists explained that the letter, dated 17 April, was in response to a formal request for information from Victoria’s father.  He received it around  22 April and contacted ICRC who have managed to confirm that the journalist is indeed on Russian territory, but no more.  Russia is violating international law both in abducting and holding civilians hostage, and in blocking access to ICRC or other international monitors.

Roshchyna earlier worked for, and then regularly published on Ukrainska Pravda and Radio Svoboda (RFE/RL).  She was first seized by the Russians on 11 or 12 March 2022 after arriving in occupied Berdyansk.  From the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, she had provided invaluable reports about the situation in the areas under Russian attack, and had just published a report for Hromadske on Enerhodar, the city linked with the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, whose residents had tried desperately to stop Russia’s invasion.  The journalist was held then for ten days, but released on 21 March and able to get to Zaporizhzhia. 

Roshchyna has never concealed her attitude to the Russian invaders of her country.  On 8 March 2022, she posted a report on Facebook which began with the words “I will never forgive Russia”, and described passing two gutted cars, with the second, it transpired, still with the charred body of a man from the village. She and her driver had only escaped from a column of Russian tanks thanks to local residents who had helped them to hide.  Their car, however, which was clearly marked with a PRESS sign, was ransacked, with her laptop, video camera, rucksack and the driver’s cigarettes stolen.

In concluding, she wrote: “I went to the regions to describe what is happening there and what the people are thinking who are all the time without communications, under the fire of machine guns, grad missiles and the roar of Russian tanks.

In small villages and cities, the occupiers feel like ‘heroes’ – they shoot at civilians living there, they set fire to their cars, kill and loot.  They are turning the life of people into hell, traumatizing children. They took my technology, but they will not take away my wish to tell the truth about their crimes.

This time, it will probably be a miracle that saves me.

But I will never forgive Russia.


They will burn in hell and will definitely go on trial.”

Victoria was one of the laureates of the International Women’s Media Foundation’s Courage in Journalism Awards for 2022.

On 25 July 2023, Roshchyna set off from Ukraine to Poland, in order to get to occupied Ukraine via Russia.  She was abducted from occupied territory on 3 August 2023, with this the first time that Russia has acknowledged responsibility.

Victoria Roshchyna is one of several journalists whom Russia has abducted since its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.  See, for example,  

Dmytro Khyliuk    Russia admits to holding Ukrainian journalist Dmytro Khyliuk two years after abducting him

Serhiy Tsyhipa Ukrainian journalist abducted, tortured and sentenced to 13 years for writing about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Iryna and Oleksandr Levchenko Year of anguish as Russia hides abducted Melitopol journalist Iryna Levchenko and her husband

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