MOSCOW, June 3. /TASS/. Moscow is urging the relevant international structures to respond to an attempt by Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) to recruit RIA Novosti correspondent in Lithuania Irina Vysokovich, according to a statement released by Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Sunday.
"We are urging the relevant international structures and the international community to respond accordingly to the situation with Vysokovich," the statement says.
"This incident is another confirmation that the freedom of expression in Ukraine has ceased to exist," the statement reads.
RIA Novosti news agency reported on Saturday that the SBU tried to recruit its correspondent Irina Vysokovich who had come to Kherson to cover the judicial proceedings against RIA Novosti Ukraine Editor-in-Chief Kirill Vyshinsky.
According to the journalist, the SBU officers forced her to go to one of the special service’s buildings, after which they questioned her for several hours without a protocol about her professional activity. They were also forcing her to sign a paper on her readiness to cooperate and provide information on the work of RIA Novosti.
After the questioning, Vysokovich was released but the SBU was demanding that she say in front of a TV camera that she had no complaints about the SBU’s work.
Moscow also demands that the Ukrainian authorities lift all the accusations against RIA Novosti Ukraine Editor-in-Chief Kirill Vyshinsky and immediately release him, according to a statement circulated by Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Sunday.
‘We demand that Vyshinsky be immediately released and all the accusations against him be lifted," the statement reads.
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 and taken to the city of Kherson, where the city court arrested him for 60 days. On June 1, an appeals court rejected an appeal against his arrest. The journalist faces up to 15 years behind bars.
Ahead of the verdict announcement the journalist addressed Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko from the courtroom, saying he was going to abandon Ukrainian citizenship and that he considered himself a Russian citizen only. The editor-in-chief also addressed Russian President Vladimir Putin, asking him to provide legal support for his release.