Russian armed forces on Monday took four Ukrainian media workers from their homes in Melitopol, a city in southeastern Ukraine, the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine said in a news release.
The journalists and some of their family members were driven from the city — which is under Russian military occupation — toward an unknown direction before they were released a few hours later.
The journalists were all associated with the Melitopolskie Vedomosti, a local newspaper. They included the paper’s retired publisher, Mykhailo Kumko; its editor in chief, Yevhenia Boryan; and two reporters, Yulia Olkhovska and Lyubov Chaika.
Anna Medvid, the director general of the company that owns the newspaper, told the union that Russian soldiers have conducted “preventive talks” with journalists, in an attempt to persuade them to collaborate.
“A week ago, I was also summoned for an interview. They want us to be loyal and supportive. I did not agree, and we parted,” she said in the release.
The soldiers confiscated mobile phones and home servers from the media workers, according to Ms Medvid.
“The National Union of Journalists of Ukraine condemns attempts at intimidation and pressure on journalists by the occupiers in Melitopol, Berdyansk and Kherson,” the union said in another news release on Monday, adding that searches and abductions have become tools of intimidation of journalists and activists on the occupied territories.