KIEV, May 18. /TASS/. Ukraine’s Opposition Bloc party strongly protests against the arrest of Chief Editor of the RIA Novosti Ukraine news agency Kirill Vyshinsky and is ready to bail him out, says a statement published on the party’s website.
"The Opposition Bloc considers the fight for freedom of expression and journalists’ rights to be the top priority for all the democratic forces in Ukraine. We are ready to bail the arrested journalist out and will keep an eye on the court proceedings," the statement adds.
The Opposition Bloc also said that there was no freedom of expression in Ukraine, while by taking such actions authorities were inflicting "irreparable damage" on the country’s image on the international stage. "Everyone who tried to tell the truth about the war and the current authorities faced threats, persecution or even ended up in jail. Those include journalists Ruslan Kotsaba, Igor Guzhva, Vasily Muravitsky, Dmitry Vasilets and Yevgeny Timonin. And now, Kirill Vyshinsky has joined this list. Charges brought against them do not hold up to scrutiny as they likely are biased and politicized," the party pointed out.
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. The news agency’s Chief Editor Kirill 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 that Moscow had sent two notes of protest to Kiev over Vyshinsky’s case.
The SBU called over 40 witnesses for questioning in Vyshinsky’s case. The chief editor was taken to the city of Kherson, where the city court arrested him for 60 days. The high treason charge against him is particularly based on a number of the journalist’s articles dedicated to the 2014 events in Crimea.