KIEV, June 1./TASS/. Editor-in-chief of the RIA Novosti Ukraine news agency Kirill Vyshinsky, who was charged with high treason and arrested for two months in Ukraine, said on Friday that from now on he is a citizen of Russia.
"I file a request with President Pyotr Poroshenko to renounce my Ukrainian citizenship and ask to refer this statement to the president’s administration," the journalist said when a Kherson court considered an appeal against his arrest. "From now on I see myself a citizen of only the Russian Federation," he said.
Vyshinsky admitted, however, that he was saying this with grief. "I used to be proud when producing the passport of Ukraine, but I have no other way out," Vyshinsky explained.
Vyshinsky has asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to take steps for his immediate release.
"I ask Russian President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin to take all the necessary measures for my immediate release and also for providing me with legal assistance by the consulate and the embassy," Vyshinsky said.
The journalist also called to "immediately stop persecution" of his family members and friends. He also asked Ukrainian Human Rights Commissioner Lyudmila Denisova to pay attention to his case. "What is happening here and with me now is a gross violation of human rights," he stressed.
Vyshinsky also told the court that during the investigation the Ukrainian authorities exerted pressure on his family, including elderly parents, and conducted searches of their house. He also linked his detention to Kiev’s intention to get a new victim or carry out a swap. "This is just a political order," 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. 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.
On May 17, Vyshinsky was charged with high treason and arrested for two months by the Kherson City Court. If found guilty, he may face up to 15 years in prison. More than 40 staff members of the news agency were summoned for interrogation by the SBU.