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Jailed journalist blasts Kiev’s accusations as groundless — defense attorney

May 17, 9:29 UTC+3 MOSCOW

On May 15, the Ukrainian Security Service carried out a large-scale operation against RIA Novosti Ukraine staff members, accusing them of high treason

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Kirill Vyshinsky

Kirill Vyshinsky

© EPA-EFE/YEVHEN KOTENKO/POOL

MOSCOW, May 17. /TASS/. Chief Editor of the RIA Novosti Ukraine news agency Kirill Vyshinsky, detained in Kiev on Tuesday, believes that the high treason charge brought against him is groundless, the journalist’s defense attorney Andrei Domansky told the Rossiya 24 TV channel on Thursday.

"As for the charge, I would repeat what Kirill said - he believes it to be groundless and aimed at discrediting him," the attorney said.

According to Domansky, "there are a lot of aspects that the defense can refer to in order to disprove the charge and it will be done in good time." "Allegations are not the same as accusations and I don’t know under what articles he will be charged eventually," the attorney added.

Domansky declined to comment on the condition of his client’s health for ethical reasons, saying that he would do everything possible to make sure Vyshinksy had all the medicine he needed.

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.

On Wednesday, Vyshinsky was taken to the city of Kherson and put into the Ukrainian Interior Ministry’s pre-trial detention center. The Kherson City Court is expected to make a decision on his arrest on Thursday, while the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office has announced plans to demand he be arrested for two months. The SBU has called 47 witnesses for questioning in Vyshinsky’s case.

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