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RFE/RL President Capus Meets Ukrainian President Zelenskiy, Discusses Imprisoned Journalist in Crimea

Ukraine -- RFE/RL president Stephen Capus meeting with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy, February 26, 2024
Ukraine — RFE/RL president Stephen Capus meeting with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy, February 26, 2024

KYIV, Ukraine — During a meeting on Sunday between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) President Stephen Capus, the Ukrainian leader commended RFE/RL’s coverage of the Russian invasion as the war enters its third year this week.

When asked about the fate of RFE/RL journalist Vladyslav Yesypenko—who’s been behind bars in Russia-occupied Crimea on trumped up charges for nearly three years—Zelenskiy said freeing political prisoners in Crimea, “especially journalists,” is a priority and will be on the agenda of the upcoming inaugural Peace Summit in Switzerland.

The Ukrainian president told Capus that he raises the issue of the exchange of Ukrainians, particularly political prisoners, during all his meetings with foreign leaders.

“It is very important for us to return all prisoners home…This is hard work, especially regarding the return of Crimeans, especially journalists, political prisoners,” he said.

Capus told Zelenskiy that Yesypenko is “only guilty of reporting the truth about Russia’s occupation of Crimea.”

“Vlad’s release would send a strong signal that people who speak the truth will not be forgotten despite these difficult times. We appreciate all efforts to ensure that Vlad returns to his wife Kateryna and daughter Stefania as soon as possible,” he told the Ukrainian leader.

The two also discussed RFE/RL’s mission to bring independent, uncensored news about the war in Ukraine to local audiences. A July 2023 Gallup World Poll found that 95 percent of Ukrainians trust RFE/RL’s content, which is consumed on various platforms each week by more than 14 percent of the population.

“Our reporters work on the front lines,” Capus told Zelenskiy. “Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has been here for 70 years. We were here yesterday, we are here today, and we will be here tomorrow.”


About RFE/RL
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) is a private, independent international news organization whose programs — radio, Internet, television, and mobile — reach influential audiences in 23 countries, including Russia, Ukraine, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the republics of Central Asia and the Caucasus. It is funded by the U.S. Congress through USAGM.