A Ukrainian journalist working for CNN is being held in detention in the eastern part of the country after being abducted by pro-Russian rebels, the station reported.
Militants from the Donetsk People's Republic seized Anton Skiba – who was working as a fixer for a CNN television crew – on Tuesday evening as he returned to the Donbass Palace Hotel in Donetsk.
The news organization, along with Committee to Protect Journalists, Reporters Without Borders, and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, is asking those who are holding Skiba to release him.
Armed fighters led by a senior official who identified himself as Alexandr Kalyussky, the deputy prime minister in charge of industry in the Donetsk People's Republic, at first accused Skiba of “terrorism” and promoting cash rewards for the killings of rebel fighters. The official showed documents that he claimed to be evidence taken from Skiba’s Facebook page, according to CNN.
Skiba did not resist as he was escorted to a waiting car.
Kalyussky later denied the claim to CNN that Skiba was offering cash rewards for killings. He then said Skiba was being investigated for having multiple forms of identification, while another official said Skiba admitted to being a “Ukrainian agent.”
Skiba has not been heard from since Wednesday, when he made a short phone call to CNN and said he would "not be available."
Separatists have stopped responding to requests from CNN for updates on Skiba’s condition.