Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Ukraine searches Russian state media offices: Kiev

Ukraine searches Russian state media offices: Kiev

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.

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova was quoted by TASS news agency as saying that the USA state department should insist on the release of the journalists instead of being lenient to the Ukrainian government.

The SBU claimed in an official statement that in the spring of 2014, Vyshynsky traveled to Crimea, where he personally took part in "propaganda campaigns aimed at supporting annexation and joining the peninsula to the Russian Federation" while working for the state-run RT news outlet, formerly Russia Today. "The prosecution will insist that he be arrested", Sargan wrote on Facebook.

RIA Novosti stated on Tuesday that Ukrainian intelligence officers stormed its workplace in Kiev and that it has been unable to get in contact with its correspondents there since.

Kirill Vyshinski, the head of RIA Novosti's Ukrainian office, was also detained at his house in Kiev for suspected treason, a crime which can carry up to 15 years in prison.

Money found by the SBU during searches
Money found by the SBU during searches

"Lavrov said it was "far from the first time" that the Ukrainian authorities have "restricted the activities" of Russian journalists in Ukraine".

According to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which condemned the SBU raid and Vyshynsky's detention, Vyshynsky is a Ukrainian citizen with a Russian passport.

Zakharova also criticized the Western states and worldwide organizations for not paying enough attention to crackdown on the press in Ukraine. The SBU and prosecutors had uncovered the illegal activity of a Russian-controlled media chain in Ukraine.

"We believe that this forbearance directly threatens the future of the common European space because it is promoting the suppression of dissent in the worst totalitarian traditions", the spokesperson added.

The majority of Western states and worldwide organizations have not responded to the developments in Kiev, however several remarks have been made. "I reiterate my call on the authorities to refrain from imposing unnecessary limitations on the work of foreign journalists, which affects the free flow of information and freedom of the media", Desir said in a statement published on the OSCE website.

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