14:26 GMT01 June 2020
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    KIEV/MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) said in its Thursday press release that it had found in a safety deposit box belonging to the head of the RIA Novosti Ukraine news portal Kirill Vyshinsky over $200,000, a gun and a contract of employment with Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency.

    "During the authorized searches the law enforcement officers found in Vyshinsky's safety deposit box over $200,000, an object resembling FN M1905 pistol, and the direct contract of employment between the defendant in the case and Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency," the SBU press release said.

    Commenting on the issue, the press service of Rossiya Segodnya said it was surprising that the SBU had not found a tank in Vyshinsky's safety deposit box during the searches.

    Rossiya Segodnya Director General Dmitry Kiselev suggested, in turn, that the Ukrainian authorities tried to brutalize the image of the RIA Novosti Ukraine news portal head.

    "They are trying to portray Vyshinsky as a commissioner with a Nagant. Russia definitely does not arm journalists," Kiselev stressed.

    On May 15, the SBU broke into the office of RIA Novosti Ukraine in Kiev. Vyshinsky was detained on charges of treason the same day. The SBU also accused him of supporting the self-proclaimed people's republics of Donetsk and Luhansk in Ukraine's southeast. On May 17, a court in the Ukrainian city of Kherson ruled to arrest Vyshinsky for 60 days without bail.

    Rossiya Segodnya Director General Dmitry Kiselev urged earlier the Ukrainian authorities to free Vyshinsky immediately and end their persecution of the media. 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 Russian Foreign Ministry classified Kiev's actions against RIA Novosti Ukraine as an "outrage." Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated that the actions of the Ukrainian authorities with respect to RIA Novosti Ukraine journalists were unacceptable, while the Russian Embassy has delivered two protest notes to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry urging to stop violence against media workers.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin, in turn, has stated that Vyshinsky was arrested directly for his professional activity and performance of his journalist functions. The Russian president stressed that Vyshinsky's arrest constituted an unprecedented and absolutely unacceptable policy of the Ukrainian authorities and expressed his hope that it would be adequately reflected in the reaction of the journalistic community and international human rights organizations.


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    deposit box, searches, trial, journalism, arrest, Ukrainian Security Service (SBU), RIA Novosti, Kirill Vyshinsky, Ukraine
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