KIEV, May 17. /TASS/. Chief Editor of the RIA Novosti Ukraine news agency Kirill Vyshinsky’s defense has requested the Kherson City Court release him on bail, defense attorney Andrei Domansky said.
According to him, the evidence presented by the prosecution is unacceptable since irregularities have been committed.
Domansky particularly pointed out that officials who had conducted a search in the journalist’s apartment were not the same as mentioned in the search record. In addition, he rejected accusations concerning a number of articles published on the news agency’s website. "How can the court accept extracts from articles as evidence when their authors have not been mentioned and full articles have not been presented? Moreover, the authors’ views may not coincide with those of the editorial staff, which is what the website says," the attorney noted.
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. Vyshinsky was detained outside his home early on Tuesday. 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.
The Russian embassy in Kiev demanded that the Ukrainian authorities take all the necessary measures to stop violence against media workers, immediately release the detained journalist, launch an impartial investigation into the incident and punish those abusing power. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said on Wednesday that Moscow had sent two notes of protest to Kiev over Vyshinsky’s case.
The Kherson City Court is expected to make a decision on the journalist’s arrest on Thursday. According to spokesperson for the so-called ‘Crimean’ Prosecutor’s Office [part of the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office, based in Kherson - TASS] Tatyana Tikhonchik, the prosecution requested the court arrest Vyshinksy for two months.