SLAVIANSK, April 24 (RIA Novosti) – Pro-federalization activists have announced the terms of a possible deal for the release of US journalist Simon Ostrovsky, who is being held in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slaviansk, local protest leader Vyacheslav Ponomaryov said Thursday.
Under the proposed deal, Ostrovsky would be held by federalists until they verify the reports of his alleged ties to the Right Sector ultranationalist movement. He could be freed in exchange for the self-proclaimed Ukrainian governor in the Donetsk People's Republic, Pavel Gubarev, held by Ukraine's national security service, Ponomaryov said.
Activists are trying to learn the truth of Ostrovsky’s real purposes for traveling to Slaviansk. They found it suspicious that Ostrovsky holds both US and Israeli passports, speaks fluent Russian and asked local citizens and activists “provocative questions,” Ponomaryov said.
“Until we find this out, he will be here. Later we will either allow him to work in Slaviansk or swap him for one of our supporters, in particular, Pavel Gubarev,” Ponomaryov said.
Self-defense forces are holding 10 people hostage, including a Ukrainian journalist and Maidan activist Irma Krat, and a local city council deputy Vadim Sukhonos, he said.
International media reported Monday that Ostrovsky, working for US documentary maker Vice News, went missing while covering pro-federalization protests in Slaviansk.
Ponomaryov confirmed Wednesday that Ostrovsky had been captured by pro-federalization activists who suspect him of being an informant for the Right Sector ultranationalist movement.
Ostrovsky is being treated well and given food, he added.