Riga, October 5, 2023—The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the disappearance of Ukrainian journalist Viktoria Roshchina and called on Russian authorities and anyone with information about her to disclose her location immediately.
“We are deeply worried by the disappearance of Viktoria Roshchina, who has been missing for over two months after planning to go on a reporting trip in Russian-occupied Ukrainian territory,” said Carlos Martinez de la Serna, CPJ’s program director, in New York. “CPJ stands in solidarity with other organizations calling on Russian authorities and anyone with information on her whereabouts to come forward at once. Journalists must be able to freely report on the invasion without retaliation.”
Roshchina, who planned to travel to the occupied territories of eastern Ukraine via Russia to report on the situation there, left Ukraine for Poland on July 25 and was expected to reach the occupied territories three days later.
She has been missing since August 3, and her current location is unknown, according to a statement by global non-profit organization International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) and Sevgil Musaieva, the chief editor of Ukrainska Pravda, an independent Ukrainian news website that Roshchina works with.
On August 3, Roshchina told her sister that she made it through days of border checks but did not share her location, Musaieva told CPJ, adding that Ukraine’s SBU security service has since told Roshchina’s family that Russian forces captured her.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t know where she went, how she crossed the border with Russia, or where she last got in touch,” Musaieva said. “If we had known at least something, it would have greatly simplified this search.”
Roshchina’s family reported her missing to the Ukrainian authorities on August 12 and filed an official missing case on September 21. CPJ’s emails to the SBU and the Russian Ministry of Defense received no response.
Musaieva told CPJ that Roshchina was not on editorial assignment for Ukrainska Pravda, “but she asked what topics we could theoretically be interested in.” Roshchina is a freelance reporter who has been covering the war in Ukraine for several Ukrainian media outlets, including Ukrainska Pravda, regional news website Novosti Donbassa, and privately owned news website Censor.net.
In March 2022, Roshchina was detained by Russian forces for 10 days while reporting in southeastern Ukraine. That same month, Russian forces in Ukraine’s southeastern Zaporozhye region fired on her vehicle.
Russian forces have detained multiple Ukrainian journalists since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The whereabouts of former journalist Iryna Levchenko, missing since early May 2023, and of journalist Dmytro Khilyuk, detained in early March 2022, are still unknown.