RIA Novosti-Ukraine's actions are high treason - prosecutor general

Sergei Savostianov  TASS

Sergei Savostianov TASS

New York, May 15, 2018-The Committee to Protect Journalists today expressed concern over the Ukraine Security Service's (SBU) search of the Kiev office of the Russian state news agency RIA Novosti and detention of the office director, Kirill Vyshynsky.

The report said that the raids took place at five sites that are used "specified media" (RIA Novosti-Ukraine - ed.) and at the place of residence of its individual functionaries.

It was established that in spring 2014, when Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimea, Vyshinsky produced anti-Ukrainian materials and received a medal "For the Return of Crimea" from Russian President Vladimir Putin, the SBU said.

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"Law enforcers have determined that they were used by the aggressor country in the context of a hybrid information war against Ukraine".

Earlier the day, RIA Novosti reporter Kyrylo Vyshynsky was detained by Ukrainian law enforcement officers near his house.

"Currently, the preliminary qualification of the criminal offence (.) is treason", a representative of the prosecutors office, Igor Ponochovny, told journalists during a joint briefing with the SBU official.

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Relations between Kiev and Moscow have been tense since Russian Federation annexed Crimea away from Ukraine in 2014 and supported Ukrainian separatists in the region. "The money is subsequently distributed to the groups and people involved". Now we know only about the acts of force taken toward the Russian mass media, the measures that restrict the freedom of our journalists and they can not get in touch. RTs editor-in-chief, Margarita Simonyan, linked the raids and arrest to the opening of the bridge.

"Let me address my Department of State Colleagues: instead of being lenient to the Ukrainian government, which had lost any idea of human rights, demand the release of journalists in the same strict tone that you use to reproach anyone else", she said. According to the SBU the offices of RIA Novosti and RT share the same premises in the centre of Kiev. Some of them are responsible for transmitting information to its headquarters in Moscow while others, led by Vyshynsky, are in charge of the ria.com.ua website for the Ukrainian audience.

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