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Case Background
Case Updates

Oleh Halaziuk, a columnist for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), was detained in August 2017 by Russian-supported rebels in the Donetsk region of Eastern Ukraine. 

Since the outbreak of the conflict in Ukraine, Halaziuk had covered everyday living conditions in the town of Torez in the Donetsk region, reporting persistently on life in a war zone.

The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Désir, has said of Halaziuk and Stanislav Aseyev, another journalist also held captive in Donetsk: “[they] were among the very few independent journalists who worked and reported from the non-government controlled area of Donetsk region.” 


Before the conflict in Ukraine, Halaziuk was a professor at the Torez faculty of the Kharkiv Institute of Economics of Market Relations and Management. 

From the first days of the war in Donbas, Halaziuk, using the pseudonym Myroslav Tyamushchy, was writing about changes in the Donetsk region and the experience of living in the war zone. Many of his columns focused on the lives of children in Russian-occupied territories and the lasting impact that food shortages, financial devastation, and violence would have on future generations. 

Halaziuk was captured twice prior to his detention in 2017. Following one of these detentions in 2015, Halaziuk spoke to the press of the torture he underwent at the hands of his captors. 

Since the time of his capture in August 2017, amidst repeated requests for his release, Halaziuk was denied contact with numerous international human rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch, the OSCE, and the U.S. Agency for Global Media

Halaziuk is one of three RFE/RL reporters targeted for following Russia’s seizure of Ukrainian territory.

Case Updates

December 29, 2019: After being detained for two and a half years, Oleh Halaziuk was freed as part of a broader prisoner exchange in Ukraine. 

June 14, 2019: RFE/RL once again calls for the immediate release of its columnist, Oleh Halaziuk.

April 25, 2019: The National Union of Journalists of Ukraine demands an end to the persecution of Ukrainian journalists and bloggers, including Oleh Halaziuk, imprisoned by Russia-backed rebels in Donetsk. 

October 6, 2018: Lina Kushch, first secretary of the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU), tells Ukraine’s Hromadske Radio that the Union’s investigation of Halaziuk’s case has been unable to determine what he was being accused of and why he was detained, or whether any ‘court procedures’ were planned. 

August 2017: Halaziuk sends a message to his colleague Andrei Dikhatyarenko that he will be traveling to Mariupol, a city in southern Donetsk. His whereabouts are unknown until his detention is reported by a prisoner released during an exchange in December 2017. Multiple prisoners have now confirmed that Halaziuk is indeed being held captive in the Donetsk region.