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Vyshinsky’s release related to upcoming prisoner exchange deal — Ukrainian prosecutors

KIEV, August 28. /TASS/. The release of RIA Novosti Ukraine Chief Editor Kirill Vyshinsky from custody is related to the preparations for the prisoner exchange deal between Russia and Ukraine in the "35 for 35" format, Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Spokesperson Larisa Sargan stated on Wednesday.

"Today, the changes to Vyshinsky’s measure of restraint approved during a court session took place within the framework of the preparations for the "35 for 35" exchange deal and with consent of Vyshinsky," she wrote on Twitter.

A court in Kiev released Vyshinsky on his own recognizance earlier on Wednesday. The court ruled that the journalist is obliged to report to court upon demand, refrain from contacting witnesses in this case and notify the court about any changes concerning his place of residence and work. However, the journalist’s passport will be kept at the prosecutor’s office. Vyshinsky’s defense attorneys plan to request the return of his ID.

Last week, the Ukrainian media informed of a planned prisoner exchange between Russia and Ukraine, mentioning the "33 for 33" formula. Attorney Valenrin Rybin, who represents the interests of several Russian citizens imprisoned in Ukraine, confirmed the reports to TASS earlier. Russian Human Rights Commissioner Tatyana Moskalkova visited Kiev a few days ago, the agenda of her visit undisclosed to the public. Vyshinsky has repeatedly stated that he would not agree to an exchange, expecting to be acquitted by the court.

On May 15, 2018, the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) carried out a large-scale operation against RIA Novosti Ukraine staff members, accusing them of high treason. The news outlet’s Chief Editor Kirill Vyshinsky was arrested. 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. Charges against Vyshinsky are particularly based on a number of the journalist’s articles dedicated to the 2014 events in Crimea. If found guilty, the journalist may face up to 15 years behind bars.