Ukrainian journalists Stanislav Aseev and Oleg Galazjuk, who were illegally detained in the occupied Donetsk, have also returned to Ukraine in the framework of the prisoner exchange between Ukraine and the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk "people's republics".
Aseev was sentenced to 15 years in prison by the decision of the so-called “Supreme Court” of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk people's republic” in east Ukraine.
Aseev was also deprived of his right to engage in journalistic activities for 2.5 years.
Russian TV channel Russia 24 published an interview with the captured RFE/RL journalist on August 17. In the video, he claimed to have pleaded guilty to espionage, which he was accused of by the militants.
Aseev had been held captive by “DPR” fighters since June 2017. Relatives and colleagues had no contact with him since then. The leadership of the self-proclaimed republic initially denied Aseyev's detention, but later admitted that he had been detained and suspected of “espionage”.
Stanislav Aseev has lived in Donetsk since the beginning of the occupation and wrote for the Ukrainian media The Ukrainian Week, Dzerkalo Tyzhnia, and Radio Liberty under the pseudonym “Stanislav Vasin”.
Galazjuk had been a captive of the militants since August 2017. According to the head of the Center for Civil Liberties Oleksandr Matviychuk, Galazjuk had been detained twice. The second time was when he returned to occupied Donetsk because he was unable to find work in the Ukrainian government-controlled territory.