Kremlin calls SBU actions toward RIA News-Ukraine outrageous

Wednesday, 16 May, 2018

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.

Lutsenko described Russia Today as "the descendants of Goebbels" and said that the investigation has evidence that RIAN were carrying out well-paid information attacks on Ukraine. For his work "in favor of the aggressor country in May 2014", the SBU alleged, Vyshynsky was awarded a medal by a private decree of the president of the Russian Federation. The SBU did not immediately respond to CPJ's request sent via email for more information on the case.

The Ukrainian authorities started the transfer of head of RIA Novosti Ukraine news portal Kirill Vyshinsky from Kiev to the city of Kherson to select a preventive measure, Vyshinsky's lawyer told Sputnik.

"Today the Prosecutor's Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the SBU moved to the active phase of neutralizing the anti-Ukrainian activities of another Russian media entity", he wrote on his Facebook page on Tuesday.

Russian Federation angrily protested Tuesday's raid and Vyshinski's detention, with the Kremlin calling the actions "unacceptable" and accusing the Ukrainian government of repeatedly putting "pressure on freedom of speech". "The criminalization of alternative news and views has no place in a democratic Ukraine". "And now investigative actions are being carried out", spokeswoman of the SBU Olena Hitlianska told Interfax-Ukraine on Tuesday morning. "We are waiting for some statements by the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media [Harlem] Desir", Lavrov added.

According to the media, law enforcement officers detained Kyrylo Vyshynsky, the chief of the Ukrainian department of RIA Novosti.

Kiev authorities regularly accuse Russia of using its public media, including television stations which are very popular in Russian-speaking regions of Ukraine, to encourage separatist sentiment and undermining confidence in the current pro-European government.