Disappearance of Ukrainian union leader and his two sons

The ITUC is deeply concerned about the disappearance of an Ukranian trade union activist and his two sons in Donetsk region.

The Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine (KVPU), has informed the ITUC that on 6 October Volodymyr Stepanenko, the KVPU leader at the “Kalinin” mine, was forcefully detained by armed people associated with security forces of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic. His two sons, Maxim and Sergyi, who tried to find out where their father was being held, were also detained and taken to an unknown place. One week before Volodymyr and his sons disappeared, he had visited the mine and the head of the mine security service had physically assaulted him.

Other cases of violence against union activists have also been reported in Eastern Ukraine. In June 2014, Ivan Resznichenko, an official of the Independent Miners’ Union (NPGU) at the “Artemsil” enterprise disappeared. In May 2014 two activists of NPGU, Alexander Vovk and Alexander Gurov, were captured and beaten by the military.

The ITUC is calling for the immediate release of Stepanenko and his sons, and for an end to violations of human rights and repression and violence against peaceful citizens and their unions in all parts of Ukraine.