Before VICE News correspondent Simon Ostrovsky was detained on April 21 and held by pro-Russia separatists in Sloviansk, he filed this dispatch featuring an interview with his future captor, the city's self-appointed “people’s mayor,” Vyacheslav Ponomarev. Simon was released on Thursday.
Simon went to Sloviansk to investigate reports of a shooting at a checkpoint outside of the city on Easter Sunday. At least three people were reportedly killed in the incident. Pro-Russia forces and Russian media outlets quickly blamed the Ukrainian nationalist group Right Sector for the assault. After interviewing local Ukrainian police, who couldn’t confirm the number of deaths, Simon attended a press briefing where he questioned Ponomarev directly about the alleged shooting.