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Press by
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
American Journalist Under Investigation By Armed Gunmen in Slavyansk
4 years
Russian-Backed Separatists Continue to Detain Civilians in Slavyansk

Vyacheslav Ponomarev, the self-proclaimed 'mayor' of Slavyansk, has given a press conference where he answered questions about the fate of American journalist Simon Ostrovsky. Below we have posted a translation.

Reporter: Where is he?

Ponomarev:  He's alive and well, thank God.

Reporter:  Where is he?

Ponomarev:  He's with us.

Reporters: Where? Where?

Ponomarev: [Laughs] In a preliminary detention cell.

Reporter: Why are you holding him?

Ponomarev: Huh?

Reporter: Why are you holding him?

Ponomarev: So he wouldn't put out a lot of provocative commentary, so he wouldn't conduct hostile activity on our territory. In the final analysis, he is an undesirable element in our area. Since -- and I repeat again -- we know all the journalists, we are familiar with you all, we talk to you all, we reached a certain agreement about what and how you are to clearly and accurately broadcast information received, not to exaggerate the facts.

Reporter: But... you want to tell us...

Ponomarev: Wait. And not to distort reality. Therefore, please, continue to work, we're not interfering in any way, we are open to you to the maximum. If you don't violate our agreement and we...will continue to cooperate with you.

Reporter: Do you have some kind of proof of his condition, can we talk to him, can we see him? So that we know...well, somehow...we don't know...

Ponomarev: You know what, I'll tell you the following. Listen to me carefully. Why do none of you ever pay any attention to the fact that in the isolation cells of the SBU [Ukrainian Security Service] there are a lot of our activists, in particular, Pavel Gubarev, the People's Governor of Donetsk Region. Why don't you focus attention on that? But you have intense attention for some journalist provocateur, intense, giving out all sorts of rumors where he is and so on.I assure you -- I assure you. Nothing bad is happening to him. He is eating normally. He is being held in normal conditions. He's clean, washed, that is, well...

Reporter: He's a journalist.

Ponomaryov: And so what now? But if he conducts himself aggressively, if he is provocative, what now, he's allowed to do anything? Or what?

Reporter: Yesterday, you said he was writing some material, what's going on?

Ponomarev: Yes, that's correct. He's gathering some material while he's in the KPZ [preliminary detention cell] so that he can share it with you when he gets out.

Reporter: When is he getting out?

Ponomarev: When it's time, then he'll get out. When we consider it necessary for him to get out, then we'll let him out. I could ask the same question, so to say, of the representatives of the Kiev junta. When are you going to let out our activists? When are they going to stop abusing them? That's it. You understand. We're not discovering anything new, we're not doing anything new.

Reporter: What do you want from him, in order to let him go? You said you'd let him out "when it's time," and "when you're ready." What do you want?

Ponomarev: Let him be our guest.

Reporter: Is he a hostage?

Ponomarev: Of course not. He's a walking around. It's just that we defined his place of stay, so to speak.

Reporter: What is his status?

Ponomarev: Huh?

Reporter: What is his legal status?

Ponomarev: We said from the beginning that we have one intention. And then it turns out he is nevertheless a citizen of Israel. And then this morning your colleague from Moscow tried to explain that to me that he is a person with dual citizenship, American and Israeli. That is, I myself would like to determine who he is. Either he has American citizenship or he has Israeli citizenship. Or maybe it's Ethiopian. Let them declare about him his rights from Madagascar or somewhere else...

Reporter: What is his status with you?

Ponomarev: Huh?!

Reporter: Is he detained, arrested, accused?

Ponomarev: detained.