Separatist militants detaining Stanislav Aseyev are violating press freedom and must release him immediately, PEN America said in a statement today.

Aseyev, who also writes under the name Stanislav Vasin, is a blogger for the Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty Ukrainian service and contributes to Ukrainian publications including Dzerkalo Tyzhnya, Ukrayinskyi Tyzhden and Ukrayinska Pravda. Aseyev covered both the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine, and life, culture, and entertainment in various cities in the Donetsk region for the RFE/RL blog Donbas.Realiyi.

On July 16 it was confirmed that Stanislav Aseyev, who had been reported missing since June 2, is being detained, accused of espionage, and threatened with up to 14 years’ imprisonment by forces in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR), according to former member of parliament and Aseyev’s long-term acquaintance, Yehor Firsov. Firsov also wrote in a Facebook post that Aseyev’s mother had been allowed to visit him in separatist custody following weeks of denial by separatist forces of his whereabouts.

“By detaining Stanislav Aseyev and refusing to confirm this for over a month, separatist forces are deliberately targeting journalists covering the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine, curbing press freedom and limiting access to news and information about the conflict,” said Polina Kovaleva, PEN America Free Expression Program Manager for Eurasia. “We urge the separatist forces in Donetsk to release him immediately, and call on all parties to the conflict to ensure that press freedom is respected.”

Since the start of the conflict in eastern Ukraine in March 2014 journalists have been targeted with arbitrary detention, arrest, and violence in both eastern Ukraine and Russia.


PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.


Sarah Edkins, Communications Director: [email protected], +1.646.779.4830