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RIA Novosti Ukraine chief suspected of high treason - SBU

RIA Novosti Ukraine chief suspected of high treason - SBU

The Interfax-Ukraine news agency quoted Prosecutor-General Yuriy Lutsenko as saying that the media activities of the news agency and Vyshynsky are anti-Ukrainian and amount to "state treason".

"We understand that Ukraine, like a lot of other countries, has been concerned about intense propaganda", State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told journalists on Tuesday.

Harlem Desir, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media has expressed the concern about the searches at the office of Ria News-Ukraine as the OSCE press service reported.

Ukraine's Security Service (SBU) raided RIA Novosti Ukraine headquarters on Tuesday and detained the head of the web portal, Kirill Vyshinsky.

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.

Vyshinski is a Ukrainian national who received a Russian passport in 2015 by presidential decree.

"They broke into our office, there is no contact with the employees, our website is not updated, telephones are blocked", she wrote on Twitter.
The director of the public media conglomerate Rossiya Segodnya, the parent company of the two media operations raided in Kiev, called for the release of Vyshynsky and said the "persecution" of Russian media in Ukraine must end.

He reminded Kiev that under Helsinki Final Act, the OSCE members are obliged to provide safe conditions for journalists to operate in the country.

The diplomat added that support of the media freedom across the world was very important for Germany.

"If it is the case that the actions of Ukrainian law enforcement bodies are somehow connected with the professional work of these media organizations, that would be outrageous and scandalous", said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

Zakharova criticized the situation, when the Western states and worldwide organizations did not pay enough attention to these developments. 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".