Conflict in Crimea, Ukraine: An environmental activist from Automaidan was kidnapped

2014/03/10 • News

1911709_514782225306112_546593633_nOn March 9, 2014 at the entrance to the Crimea while crossing the border in city of Armiansk two activists of social organization Automaidan, Kateryna Butko and Olexandra Ryazantseva, as well as a journalist of “Tyzhden” Olena Maksymenko, were detained and taken to unknown destination. All three are women.

Kateryna Butko is also an active member of the international climate change movement 350.org, i.e. she organized a youth climate forum ‘Power Shift’ in Ukraine. 

According to eyewitnesses, the girls were detained by men in unmarked military uniforms. “First men put girls on their knees, and then took them away,” — reports an eyewitness of the event.

A witness that reported about the incident saw how activists’ things were scattered from the car — girls were taking letters for the Ukrainian militaries, groceries, Ukrainian flags to the Crimea. “After finding a tattoo on one of the detainee’s arm that said “Heavenly Hundred” armed gunman threatened: “You have a hundred? Now it is going to be 102 “– says an eyewitness. “Nebesna Sotnia” or “Heavenly Hundred” is a collective title for those killed by the police in the recent unrest in Ukraine.

Fellow environmentalists and Pillar PR agency, where Kateryna works, are concerned about the fate of the girls and believe that they are in danger.

We appeal to journalists to spread the information about the kidnapping of activists of Automaidan and journalist of the edition “Tyzhden” and urge everyone who has any actual information on their location to let us know. 

As of 21:30, March 9th, it is known that the detainees being transferred to the Security Service of Ukraine in Sevastopol, which has been reported to be currently controlled by the Federal Security Service of Russia. “They were detained by Sevastopol’s riot police “Berkut” in Armiansk, then SSU officers from Sevastopol were called, and journalists were passed to them,” — said the Facebook community Euromaidan SOS.

From our side we contacted the legal authorities of Ukraine with an official statement about the disappearance of Kateryna Butko, Olexandra Ryazantseva and Olena Maksymenko, and we will also require investigation by the General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine of disappearance of activists of Automaidan and journalist of the edition “Tyzhden”. In addition, we are going to attract to the search and help all possible international organizations. 

As of 10:30 at Monday, March 10th, detainees have not been found. Their location is unknown, as we don’t know are the girls alive.

Contacts for press: Tetiana Dolgova, Kateryna’s colleague, +0038 (0) 63 800 77 35 (Ukraine); and Darcia Kaplia +0038 (0) 98 999 68 78 (Ukraine).

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