A group of Western journalists from a number of news outlets was detained by pro-Russian militants in Eastern Ukraine on Friday.
CBS reporter Clarissa Ward and her news crew, along with BuzzFeed's Mike Giglio and reporters from Sky News, were held, blindfolded and interrogated for hours as they attempted was traveling to Slavyansk, a city that Ukrainian troops are trying to retake from pro-Russian groups.
Ward told "CBS This Morning" on Friday that the group was stopped at a checkpoint and detained:
"We were stopped and told that the commander needed to ask his commander whether we should either be let go or taken prisoner. From there we were then taken to another nearby tent where we were blindfolded with sort of cloth and masking tape, really quite tightly bound around our heads so we couldn’t see anything at all."
The militants then separated the men and women and interrogated everyone. Ward said that at least one of her male colleagues was beaten before they were released. She also said she overheard some of her captors discussing whether to hold the journalists so they could use them as bargaining chips in hostage negotiations.
"You start to feel a pit in your stomach," she said of her emotions during the ordeal.
Giglio told roughly the same story:
We were taken from a pro-Russia checkpoint en route to Slovyansk, blindfolded and held at occupied police building. The ordeal took 3 hours.
All the journalists and crew taken with me, including my brave translator Lena, are released and safely back in Donetsk as well.
Once they decided to release us -- and a translator overheard talk of taking us hostage -- the pro-Russia militiamen politely served us tea.
Barnaby Green, one of the Sky News crew, was more succinct:
Well that was interesting....
— Barnaby Green (@barnabysky) May 2, 2014
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