BERLIN, May 18. /TASS/. The German government is following the situation surrounding the RIA Novosti Ukraine news agency with concern and calls on the Ukrainian authorities to ensure the transparency of their actions, respect the principles of the rule of law and international standards, a spokesman for the German Foreign Ministry said at a briefing on Friday.
"We have been following the situation with concern and call for transparency, respect for the principles of the rule of law and international standards concerning freedom of the media," he said.
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.