RFE/RL: Residence of Russian journalist held in Ukraine 'ransacked'

11:26, 04 June 2018
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"The apartment has been ransacked," lawyer Andriy Domansky told AFP on June 3, confirming reports on Russian news agencies of the move against RIA Novosti-Ukraine director Kirill Vyshinsky’s residence, RFE/RL wrote.

Police were still in the apartment, Domansky said at the time of his comments to AFP.

Read alsoChief of Russian RIA Novosti's Kyiv office "quits" Ukrainian citizenship, appeals to Putin

Vyshinsky's wife told RIA Novosti, a Russian state-run news agency, that "everything has been taken...The apartment has been turned over."

The location of the apartment was not immediately disclosed, but Vyshinsky is in provisional detention in the Ukrainian city of Kherson. He faces charges of high treason, which carry a 15-year jail sentence.

Kyiv police early on June 4 did not confirm they had raided the apartment, saying only that they had launched an investigation to "establish the suspects of the crime."

The Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) on May 15 carried out a large-scale operation against RIA Novosti-Ukraine's staff members – both at their offices and in several of their apartments – and detained Vyshinsky outside his home.

The SBU said in a statement afterward that "a network of media structures, which Moscow used for carrying out a hybrid war" against Ukraine, had been uncovered.

The action drew a swift and angry response from Russia, with President Vladimir Putin's spokesman saying Vyshinky's detention was "disgraceful and scandalous" if it was related to his work.

On June 3, the Russian Foreign Ministry released a statement saying, "We demand that Vyshinsky be immediately released and all the accusations against him be removed."

In Vienna, the OSCE representative on freedom of the media expressed "serious concern" over the raid and called on Ukrainian authorities to "refrain from imposing unnecessary limitations on the work of foreign journalists."

"The fight against propaganda must not fall short of international standards and should not represent disproportionate interference in media activities," Harlem Desir said in a statement.

Ties between Moscow and Kyiv have been severely damaged by Russia's seizure of Crimea in 2014 and its support for separatists in a war that has killed more than 10,300 people in eastern Ukraine.

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