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State Duma urges Kiev to immediately release Russian journalist

May 17, 2018, 12:21 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Kirill Vyshinsky, editor-in-chief of the RIA Novosti Ukraine news agency, is accused of high treason in Ukraine

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© Marat Abulkhatin/Russian State Duma Photo Service/TASS

MOSCOW, May 17. /TASS/. Russia’s lower house, the State Duma, on Thursday passed a statement calling on Kiev to immediately release Kirill Vyshinsky, editor-in-chief of the RIA Novosti Ukraine news agency, who was detained and accused of high treason in Ukraine.

The Russian lawmakers also called on the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to take a principled stance regarding the violations of journalists’ rights in Ukraine. "Such steps by the Kiev authorities against RIA Novosti Ukraine and its personnel working there are a flagrant arbitrary action of Ukraine’s special services," the document stressed.

The statement says that using force against journalists who fulfill their duties runs counter to basic European values such as the freedom of speech and expression enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and other international documents.

"The State Duma calls on the OSCE and the Council of Europe to take a principled stance regarding the repeated facts of violating journalists’ rights in Ukraine and demands that the Kiev authorities immediately release Vyshinsky," it said.

On May 15, the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) carried out a large-scale operation against RIA Novosti Ukraine staff members, accusing them of high treason. The news agency’s chief editor Kirill Vyshinsky was detained outside his home early in the morning.

Soon after that, searches were conducted in the news agency’s Kiev office and press center, as well as in some journalists’ apartments. At the same time, the SBU issued a statement claiming that "a network of media structures, which Moscow used for carrying out a hybrid war" against Kiev had been exposed. Russia has sent a note of protest to Kiev.

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