Russian OSCE rep demands Kiev release imprisoned Russian journalists

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The Russian ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Aleksandr Lukashevich, has demanded the immediate release of the head of RIA Novosti Ukraine news agency, Kirill Vyshinsky, who was detained by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) on May 15.

“On May 15, a journalist from the Ukrainian news portal RIA Novosti, Kirill Vyshinsky, was arrested, condemned by the allegations of the Ukrainian Security Service, for fulfilling his work commitments, for telling the truth about what is happening in the country … we demand the immediate release of Kirill Vyshinsky,” Russia’s OSCE diplomat said.

Lukashevich recalled that the Ukrainians’ actions have been criticized by the representative for freedom of press of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Harlem Desir, who expressed “serious concern about this morning’s raid on Russian media offices in Kyiv, the arrest of journalists, and the search of journalists’ homes.”

“We demand the immediate release of Kirill Vyshinsky,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday, commenting on the ruling of a court in the southern Ukraine city of Kherson to detain the journalist for two months.

“We call on our foreign partners to pay attention in the final run to the outrageous legal situation and unscrupulous struggle against any dissent in Ukraine,” the ministry said. “We hope that international rights groups and media organizations will not leave Vyshinsky’s plight unattended.”

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The Security Service of Ukraine invaded the headquarters of the RIA Novosti in Ukraine in Kiev on May 15 and conducted a search that lasted about eight hours.

The SBU arrested the head of the service, Kirill Vyshinsky, accusing him of high treason and support for the self-proclaimed People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.

The Russian chancellery has called the actions of Kiev against RIA Novosti Ukraine disgraceful. Russia’s Foreign Minister has also called Kiev’s actions against the journalists of RIA Novosti Ukraine unacceptable. The Russian embassy sent the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry a note of protest demanding to cease violations against representatives of media. Russian President Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, has also stated that the Kremlin expects a harsh reaction from international organizations to the actions of the SBU.

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