OSCE urges Ukraine to refrain from harassing foreign journalists

Ukraine Durchsuchung Büros RIA Novosti Ukraine

Ukraine's SBU searches Kiev offices of Russia Today and RIA Novosti

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 court in the southern city of Kherson, where Vyshynsky was expected to be transferred, said it had not yet received his case and a hearing may not take place until Thursday.

According to Hitlianska, law enforcers also detained Kiril Vyshynsky, an employee of RIA Novosti-Ukraine, in Kyiv on Tuesday morning.

"The aggressor country used [these media] in the context of a hybrid information warfare against Ukraine", she said.

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The journalist's arrest has added to already severe tension between Moscow and Kyiv, whose ties have been badly damaged since Russian Federation seized Crimea in 2014 and supported separatists in eastern Ukraine, helping start a war that has killed more than 10,300 people.

"Russia will do everything to ensure its citizen is freed, and to prevent other journalists finding themselves in similar situations, whether they are Russian citizens or work for Russian media" foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a briefing. The SBU and prosecutors had uncovered the illegal activity of a Russian-controlled media chain in Ukraine. He said that Russian President Vladimir Putin awarded Vyshinsky a medal for his role in the takeover.

Later, the OSCE representative on freedom of the media, Harlem Desir, voiced "serious concern" and called on Ukrainian authorities to "refrain from imposing unnecessary limitations on the work of foreign journalists".

At the same time, Margarita Simonyan, the editor-in-chief of the Sputnik news agency, has stated that she thought what was happening in Ukraine was Kiev's "revenge" for the recently opened Crimea Bridge.

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