MOSCOW, July 12. /TASS/. Moscow once again demands the immediate release of Kirill Vyshinsky, Editor-in-Chief of Ria Novosti Ukraine, whose arrest in Ukraine was extended on Wednesday until September 13, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a briefing on Thursday.
Kiev practically holds Vyshinsky as hostage, the diplomat stressed. "We demand once again the immediate release of the journalist, we expect a tougher reaction of concerned international organizations to continuing arbitrary action towards Vyshinsky," she said.
"Those international organizations that for so many years have failed to see a worsening situation with the freedom of speech in Ukraine, now fully share responsibility for the fate of Vyshinsky and possible consequences," the diplomat stressed.
On May 15, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) conducted a large-scale operation against the employees of RIA Novosti Ukraine accusing them of high treason. Its Editor-in-Chief Kirill Vyshinsky was taken into custody near his house early in the morning.
Shortly after that, searches began at the news agency’s central office in Kiev, in its press center and in some journalists’ apartments, which lasted several hours. The Ukrainian intelligence agency also issued a statement saying that it uncovered the activities of "a network of media structures controlled by the Russian Federation," which were used by "the aggressor state as part of a hybrid information war against Ukraine."
On May 17, the Kherson City Court in Ukraine arrested the journalist for two months. The defense team appealed the sentence, but the appeal was dismissed. The journalist is facing up to 15 years behind the bars. On July 6, the Ukrainian Prosecutor’s Office brought a new charge against Vyshinsky, under the article of unlawful use of weapons.
Vyshinsky, originally a Ukrainian national, obtained Russian citizenship in 2015. Vyshinsky addressed Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko from the courtroom, renouncing his Ukrainian citizenship and saying he considered himself to be only a Russian national. He also appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin, asking for legal assistance in his release.