On CNN moments ago, correspondent Ivan Watson reported that a freelancer working for a CNN crew in eastern Ukraine had been “basically dragged away” from his CNN crew on Tuesday by authorities with the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR). Translator Anton Skiba, said Watson, was accused on the spot of “having posted ransom — rewards — for the death of rebel fighters on his Facebook page.” However, Alexandr Kalyussky, DPR’s deputy prime minister in charge of industry, later told Watson that the real problem was that Skiba had “different forms of identification with different last names on them.” Skiba had been working with CNN for just one day, and the separatists were waiting for him when the CNN crew headed back to its hotel on Tuesday after reporting in the field.
CNN refrained from reporting on the incident while it worked to secure Skiba’s release. Skiba called CNN briefly on Wednesday to say he was okay, but Watson said the network didn’t know whether the call was made under duress.
Watson put a fine point on the situation: “Seeing a colleague basically dragged away in front of us by gunmen who accused him of being a terrorist without really supplying any evidence and then not really providing any updates on this man’s welfare, that is of extreme concern.”
The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has condemned Skiba’s abduction and called for his release.
Skiba had also worked for the BBC after the crash of MH17, according to CNN.