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Russian news agency plans to bolster legal team for jailed journalist in Kiev

May 17, 2018, 18:47 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The Kherson City Court in Ukraine on Thursday arrested journalist Kirill Vyshinsky for two months

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MOSCOW, May 17. /TASS/. The Rossiya Segodnya international news agency seeks to provide all the help it can to Kirill Vyshinsky (editor-in-chief of its news service in Ukraine), in particular to beef up the team of his lawyers, news agency Director General Dmitry Kiselev told TASS on Thursday.

"We are already rendering assistance," he said. "Kirill has a very strong lawyer, he assists, takes part in procedural activity. We are even planning to beef up the team of lawyers, but we haven't ‘missed’ anything yet," Kiselev stated.

He also condemned indifference by the global media community to Vyshinsky’s plight. "We count on a lot of journalists’ solidarity in our country and abroad. Unfortunately, it has been very weak internationally so far," he added.

Kiselev said he had been surprised by the reaction of US State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert. "She said she understands Ukraine’s concern over aggressive Russian propaganda. This sounds like a kind of blessing for this sort of activity. There wasn’t a word of criticism, and Europe has remained tight-lipped as well," he added.

"But even under these conditions, we have a chance to help Vyshinsky, and we are using different formal and informal ways," the director general added.

Vyshinsky case

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."

The Russian embassy in Kiev demanded that the Ukrainian authorities take all the necessary measures to stop harassing media employees, 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 in Ukraine on Thursday arrested the journalist for two months.

"[The court hereby rules] to satisfy the motion and remand [him] in custody until July 13," the judge said.

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