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Vladyslav Yesypenko Headshot

Vladyslav Yesypenko

Vladyslav Yesypenko, a dual Ukrainian-Russian citizen and journalist who contributed to Crimea.Realities, a regional news outlet of RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service, was detained by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) in Simferopol on March 10, 2021, on suspicion of collecting information for Ukrainian intelligence. Vladyslav left Crimea for mainland Ukraine with his family following the 2014 Russian annexation, returning periodically to report for RFE/RL on the social and environmental situation on the peninsula. 

On July 15, 2021, Vladyslav was charged with “possession and transport of explosives,” a charge he steadfastly denies. On February 16, 2022, a Russian judge in occupied Crimea sentenced him to six years in prison in a closed-door trial. Prosecutors have since admitted that a grenade “found” in Vladyslav’s vehicle did not have his fingerprints on it. On August 18, 2022, the Moscow-controlled Supreme Court of Crimea shortened his prison term to five years. 

During his trial, Vladyslav said he was tortured with electric shocks to extract a false confession. Recalling the torture, he said: “My eyes hurt and my brain almost boiled…I was ready to sign anything or tell them anything.” In November 2022, a Ukrainian prosecutor launched criminal proceedings against a Russian FSB officer for unlawful detention and torture. In September 2023 the EU announced sanctions on six individuals, including two judges and one prosecutor who took part in the politically motivated proceedings against Vladyslav, and two FSB officers who are responsible for torturing the journalist.  

Vladyslav has been recognized for his courageous and incisive journalism. He is the recipient of a Free Media Award from the Fritt Ord Foundation and ZEIT-Stiftung for his reporting in Crimea following its illegal annexation by Russia. In 2022, he received the PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award, which his wife Kateryna accepted with his young daughter, Stefania.  

Ukrainian and international civil society organizations, including Amnesty International, the  Committee to Protect Journalists, the Crimean Human Rights Group, Human Rights Watch, PEN America, and Reporters Without Borders, along with U.S. and Ukrainian officials, are among those who have called for Vladyslav’s immediate release.  

Write to Vladyslav

Vladyslav Yesypenko’s wife Kateryna Yesypenko tells RFE/RL her husband is “amazed by the large number of letters” he has received from his supporters. Vladyslav noted there were many RFE/RL employees among those who wrote and said their letters represented a “touching manifestation of journalistic solidarity.” RFE/RL encourages supporters to write to Vladyslav.

  1. Write your letter or postcard in Russian, or use an online translator.
  2. Make sure your letter or postcard does not contain political or religious themes.
  3. List Vladyslav’s address in both English and Russian:​

    Vladyslav Yesypenko, Correctional Colony No. 2, 298330, Respublika Krym, Kerch, str. Industrial highway, 17 Russia/Ukraine

    Владислав Есипенко, Исправительная колония №2 Адрес: 298330, Республика Крым, г. Керчь, ул. Индустриальное шоссе, 17 Россия/Украина
  4. Please do not send any packages.
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