Ukraine: Journalist detained on treason charges

Kirill Vyshynsky © AFP PHOTO

The Ukrainian State Security Service (SBU) on 15 May raided the office of Russian state-owned news agency RIA Novosti in Kiev after detaining one of its journalists Kirill Vyshynsky on allegations of treason. Officials told media that Vyshynsky, a dual Ukrainian-Russian national, would be charged with treason for his “subversive” reporting to justify Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, meaning that he could be imprisoned for up to 15 years. A SBU spokesperson added that Russian controlled media were being “used as tools in a hybrid war against Ukraine.” The Kremlin has condemned the “outrageous and scandalous” arrest, describing the incident as a “repressive” policy against the media, and has expressed Russia’s “indignation at the brutal violations of the freedom of the press in Ukraine”, reports added. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has condemned this violation of journalists' rights and has urged the Ukrainian authorities for his immediate release. "We are alarmed by the raid of RIA Novosti media’s offices and the detention of its head Kirill Vyshynsky,” said IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger. “We urge the Ukrainian authorities to let journalists work freely.”

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