An American journalist is being held by unidentified local authorities in eastern Ukraine, NBC News has confirmed.
Simon Ostrovsky, a reporter and producer for Vice News, was detained with five other journalists Monday night in the city of Slaviansk. The five others were released. No other details are available about Ostrovsky's detention or condition.
A Vice spokesman said in a statement to NBC News:
"VICE is aware of the situation and is in contact with the United States State Department and other appropriate government authorities to secure the safety and security of our friend and colleague, Simon Ostrovsky."
“We of course condemn the taking of hostages,” State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said Tuesday. “I don't have any additional information on this reported individual," Psaki said of Ostrovsky.
The self-declared separatist mayor of Slaviansk, Vyacheslav Ponomarev, said at a news conference that his men were holding an American journalist, but did not name Ostrovsky, according to Reuters.
Ostrovsky was covering a tense news conference held by Ponomarev in Slaviansk, from which he posted a series of tweets:
Ostrovsky has been in Ukraine throughout the crisis, reporting extensively on Crimea's breakaway and its annexation by Russia. He told MSNBC last week that events in the eastern part of the country mirror those that occurred in Crimea.
"A lot of the same things seem to be happening," Ostrovsky said on MSNBC's "All In With Chris Hayes." "The next step seems like it might be exactly what happened in Crimea."
Ostrovsky told Huffington Post in an interview last month that he has encountered overwhelming hostility in trying to report from the region.
“I think it’s because of the propaganda that Russia is broadcasting over the television networks 24/7, brainwashing the people out here into thinking that the entire world has come out against Russia,” he said in a phone interview from the Crimea regional capital of Simferopol.