Russia’s Pussy Riot: Two Members Reappear After Vanishing in Crimea Following Police Detention

Two members of the all-female Russian punk band Pussy Riot who allegedly disappeared on Tuesday after being harassed by police in Crimea have reappeared and are safe, according to the group’s social media pages.

Olga Borisova and Sasha Sofeyev had lost touch with their friends and colleagues after leaving police custody in Crimea and heading to the airport, where they had planned to fly to Moscow. Their colleagues had raised the alarm bells over their disappearance, but the band announced that the girls had reappeared Tuesday evening.

“[W]e found Sasha and Olya. [T] hey were detained several times but safe now,” the band Tweeted.

The band did not respond to requests for comment about the nature of the detentions.

The women had allegedly traveled to the Crimean Peninsula to protest the detention of Oleg Sentsov, a Ukrainian filmmaker who was convicted for plotting terrorist acts—a conviction many claim is a fabrication meant to punish Sentsov for criticizing Russia’s interference in Ukraine.

On Monday, the advocacy group PEN America organized a worldwide day of action in support of Sentsov. People from around the world posted pictures of themselves carrying placards that read #FreeSentsov.

The day coincided with Pussy Riot’s visit to Crimea to protest Sentsov’s detention. Members of Pussy Riot have been arrested on numerous occasions, and the women are outspoken defenders of prisoners’ rights. Masha Alyokhina, a third member of Pussy Riot who was detained but not missing on Tuesday, posted a picture of herself on Facebook holding up a sign that said “Free Sentsov.”

“After a few arrests, stakeouts, Cossacks, on the way to the police station,” the caption on Alyokhina’s Facebook post read.

Sentsov is from Crimea, and he was arrested there in 2014. Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula that same year as the conflict was erupting in Ukraine. However, the international community still considers Crimea to be officially part of Kiev.