MOSCOW, May 17. /TASS/. The chief editor of the RIA Novosti Ukraine news agency, Kirill Vyshinsky, was arrested in Ukraine for his professional activity, the journalist’s lawyer in Ukraine, Andrei Domansky, told Rossiya 1 television on Thursday.
"Suspicions [of high treason] allegedly over the stories posted on the website of Ria Novosti from 2014 until the present day," the lawyer said in reply to the question what specifically the Ukrainian authorities accused Vyshinsky of. In particular, the anchors of Sixty Minutes program asked the lawyer to explain what the ‘high treason’ accusation implied.
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.
Several international organizations have voiced concern over the situation. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights pointed to growing incidents in which media representatives are attacked in Ukraine. The International Federation of Journalists and OSCE representatives on freedom of the media also spoke up for Vyshinsky.