Activists Picket Presidential Administration and SBU Demanding to Free Hostages in Sloviansk

Today, May 28th, a demonstration was held in Kyiv near Presidential Administration and SBU office in support of Denis Grishchuk and Pavlo Yurov detained by separatists in Sloviansk over a month ago.


Neither of the young men is a political or military activist. Pavlo Yurov, born in Antrazit (Luhansk Oblast), is a theatre director (“Depot North” is one of his most prominent stage productions). Denis Grishchuk, born in Donetsk, has studied medicine and worked as a volunteer in many cultural organizations, including ‘Izolyatsia’. Both have moved to live and work in Kyiv quite a long ago but after watching the latest newsreels in April decided to come to their homeland and see everything with their own eyes. The price for their curiosity appeared too high as both were detained by separatists in Slovyansk April 25th. During the pat-down, separatists have found the Ukrainian flag and two tickets to Kyiv and suspecting that guys could be from Right Sector, arrested them and took them to the basement of captured Sloviansk SBU building where they are said to be kept now.


Over a month has passed but there is still no information whether the prisoners are going to be freed or not. Their relatives and friends tried to contact Ukrainian authorities, international organizations and Sloviansk ‘mayor’ Viacheslav Ponomariov. There were open letters and calls, also from Russian cultural workers. All of this has brought no result so far. There is almost no information regarding their health and moral condition. Serhiy Lefter, journalist freed from imprisonment in Sloviansk, told he had seen them and both were beaten. Denis had two ribs broken and Pavlo his nose broken. Viacheslav Ponomariov has told only that prisoners were kept in ‘tolerable’ conditions though nobody knows what this could mean.


Tired of waiting, gathering signatures and recording video appeals, activists decided to exert pressure on the authorities and remind them of their duties. So May 28th, at 9 am, about two hundred people gathered near the Presidential Administration building at Bankova street in Kyiv. There were friends and colleagues of Pavlo and Denis but also some people came to remind about the other people kept imprisoned in Sloviansk and Luhansk. As human rights organizations tell there are dozens of people kept imprisoned in terrible conditions. Many of them are locals so their relatives just cannot voice protest as they are threatened by separatists.

Representatives from Amnesty International were present at the meeting and gathered signatures in support of their petition to SBU. The petition was addressed to Valentyn Nalyvaychenko, head of the SBU personally calling to take action and free the imprisoned. The press, including main TV channels, was also present.


Unfortunately, nobody came out of the administration building so the demonstrants headed to SBU. There they were more lucky as Marina Ostapenko, SBU press secretary, came out and had a talk with activists. She made a public announcement that the department would do everything to free the detained. However, she told that SBU did not have any information concerning hostages and their conditions and that SBU should act very carefully not to make harm.

Soon after the end of meeting, Anastasiya Kasilova, one of the organizers, posted on facebook: “Thanks to everybody for their presence and support! This was really important! Our demands were heard! Thanks to press as due to your activity authorities could not ignore our picket! I hope we are going to hear good news very soon”.

Later, there was an information on the net that Valentyn Nalyvaychenko, head of the SBU, announced he would forward the process of freeing the hostages.

Another demonstration in support of all of the unknown hostages is going to be held this Friday, May 30th.

Irina Kostyshina for Euromaidan PR

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3 thoughts on “Activists Picket Presidential Administration and SBU Demanding to Free Hostages in Sloviansk

  1. Pingback: Activists Picket Presidential Administration and SBU Demanding to Free Hostages in Sloviansk - Israel Foreign Affairs

  2. If they are still alive they will be used as trading cards for the terrorists demands…which will be close to impossible to fulfill…..better start making funeral arrangements: life in Ukraine is over until you can seal the borders and bring real security to the entire country. Putin wants all the marbles, the Chechens and Russian Special Forces will kill all the scholars, religious leaders, cultural icons and the intelligentsia first…then everyone else. It’s you or them. Wait; and they will be strengthened everyday. This is TOTAL war….the real thing…Mobilize every man who can pick up a gun and start marching….or your country is finished….for good….

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