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

Cheryl Sanders
May 16, 2018

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".

U.S. Department of State Spokesperson Heather Nauert earlier told reporters that Washington took the raid on journalists in Kiev "very seriously" and called for measures in full compliance with the law.

Ukraine's Security Service (SBU) broke into the office of RIA Novosti Ukraine news agency in Kiev today, a journalist who was inside building dropped out of contact.

In the OSCE report also States that, "according to reports", the Ukrainian intelligence services "together with other journalists" arrested the head of RIA Novosti-Ukraine Kirill Vyshinsky - "a citizen of Ukraine, which also has a Russian passport".

SBU deputy chief Viktor Kononenko accused Vyshynsky of travelling to Crimea in 2014 to carry out "subversive" reporting and later collaborating with separatist groups in eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine's state security agency has raided the offices of a Russian state-owned media outlet in Kyiv. Margarita Simonyan, the editor-in-chief of Rossiya Segodnya news agency and RT broadcaster, has stated that she thought what was happening in Ukraine was Kiev's "revenge" for the recently opened Crimea Bridge. The SBU and prosecutors had uncovered the illegal activity of a Russian-controlled media chain in Ukraine. "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 the statement published on the OSCE website.

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

Ukrainian safety company SBU stated in a press release that it's investigating "a community of media retailers" managed by the Russian authorities that are "used as instruments in a hybrid warfare towards Ukraine". "The criminalization of alternative news and views has no place in a democratic 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".

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