Ukraine authorities search Russian news agency, detain director

Игорь Гужва. Архивное

Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, who called the SBU's actions against RIA Novosti-Ukraine and Vyshynsky "disgraceful and scandalous", (RFE/RL) reported.

Chief editor of the RIA Novosti Ukraine news agency Kirill Vyshinsky, detained in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev on Tuesday, has been taken to the city of Kherson and put into a pre-trial detention center belonging to the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU), Spokesperson for the so-called "Crimean" Prosecutor's Office [part of the Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office, based in Kherson - TASS] Tatyana Tikhonchik told TASS on Wednesday.

Vyshynsky's colleagues at RIA Novosti-Ukraine said he was detained today near his home in Kiev, according to a report by the U.S. Congress-funded Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty (RFE/RL).

Russian Federation and Ukraine have been locked in a bitter feud since the 2014 Crimea takeover.

The office of the Ukrainian Prosecutor's Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, which is investigating Vyshinsky's case, is located in Kherson, the Russian propagandist news agency RIA Novosti reported. "EUR 53,000 for subversive activities is only a proven amount. Additionally I was ordered to come to the SBU questioning next Friday", Lysenko said, adding that she had been prohibited to disclose other details of the incident.

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"We will act aggressively and protect the interests of Russian media to the fullest extent".

Moscow on Wednesday urged Washington to demand the release of Russian journalists detained in Ukraine. "This is not the first time when the Kiev regime tramples on fundamental rights and freedoms, persecutes journalists..." The lawmaker said the recent steps taken by Kiev had violated worldwide law.

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.

The Ukrainian government has intensified its attempts to weaken Russia's influence on its population through the Russian state media, which Kiev claims Moscow uses to stir up anti-Ukrainian sentiment and foment hostilities.

Ukraine ranks 101st out of 180 countries in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index, compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

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