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Journalist Vyshinsky must be released immediately — Kremlin

Journalist Kirill Vyshinsky, originally a Ukrainian national, obtained Russian citizenship in 2015
Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov Mikhail Metzel/TASS
Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov
© Mikhail Metzel/TASS

MOSCOW, November 2. /TASS/. Journalist Kirill Vyshinsky arrested in Ukraine should be released without further delay, as he pursued only his professional activities, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said.

"We believe that Vyshinsky should be released immediately. This is not the issue of any exchanges," the Kremlin spokesman stressed, when asked why Moscow was opposed to exchanging Vyshinsky for Ukrainian national Roman Sushchenko convicted of espionage in Russia.

Peskov stressed that Vyshinsky’s arrest was "a direct violation of all international rules in general, the press freedom principle, because he was actually arrested for his journalistic activities."

Answering a question from Roman Tsymbalyuk, a correspondent of Ukraine’s UNIAN news agency, the Kremlin spokesman noted that Vyshinsky’s activity was no different from Tsymbalyuk’s work in Moscow. "We welcome the fact that you are in Moscow. You know that your work in Moscow is not restricted in any way. We could see you yesterday on Channel One in the Bolshaya Igra (The Great Game) program, if I am not mistaken," Peskov said addressing the UNIAN journalist. "However, we regret to say that Russian journalists in Ukraine have no opportunity to appear on national TV channels."

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 Editor-in-chief Kirill Vyshinsky was taken into custody.The journalist was then transferred to the city of Kherson, where a city court arrested him for 60 days. His arrest was later extended until November 4.

The charges against Vyshinsky are particularly based on a number of articles dedicated to the 2014 events in Crimea. If found guilty, the journalist may face up to 15 years, but he pleaded not guilty.

Vyshinsky, originally a Ukrainian national, obtained Russian citizenship in 2015. He addressed Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko from the courtroom, renouncing his Ukrainian citizenship and saying he considered himself to be only a Russian national. He also addressed Russian President Vladimir Putin, asking for legal assistance in his release.