18:14 GMT +315 October 2019
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    Russian Senator Discusses With OSCE Violations Against Vyshinsky, Journalist Rights in Ukraine

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    VIENNA (Sputnik) - The head of the Russian upper house Interim Commission on Information Policy and Cooperation with the Media, Alexei Pushkov, said Monday he had discussed violations against Russian reporters in Ukraine, and notably against the head of RIA Novosti Ukraine, Kirill Vyshinsky, with the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media.

    "I drew [Harlem Desir's] attention to the fact that now was an important moment because there has been a change of power in Ukraine. It would be useful to draw the attention of the new Ukrainian authorities to issues related to the violation of journalists' rights that have accumulated in Ukraine over the past five years under [former President Petro] Poroshenko", Pushkov said after a meeting with Representative on Freedom of the Media Harlem Desir.

    Pushkov noted that he had outlined Russia's concern over five issues, including "the ongoing detention of Kirill Vyshinsky, who has already spent one year and a month in prison."

    The Russian lawmaker also raised the issue of Russian journalists being banned from entering Ukraine, their detention and expulsion, as well as the killing of media workers in the country.

    "The murders ... of a number of journalists have not been solved. He [Desir] said that that also raised very serious questions as to why there was no progress. He hopes that some kind of progress will be made under the new authorities", Pushkov added.

    Russia also hopes that Desir will convince the new Ukrainian authorities to release Vyshinsky, Pushkov noted.

    "Desir said that he had already made [relevant] statements. He reaffirmed his conviction that Kirill Vyshinsky must be released. We hope that he will take certain steps in relation to the new Kiev authorities in order to convey his position to the new government", the lawmaker said.

    According to Pushkov, the OSCE representative has not yet contacted the new Ukrainian leadership.

    "But it is logical to assume that such contacts will take place because these issues have matured. He [Desir] assured us that he understood the importance of those issues for the functioning of his institution of the [OSCE] representative on the freedom of speech and journalists' rights", Pushkov said.

    The lawmaker also noted that Desir was careful with his words about Vyshinsky's case during the meeting, but claimed that he considered Vyshinsky's case to be one of his priorities.

    "I think he worded his position so carefully so as not to create unjustified expectations. But he took note of it, [he] agreed with the importance of this issue, [and] identified it as one of the priorities for himself — that I can confirm ... He [Desir] agreed with us that, of course, the charges [against Vyshinsky] raise very serious questions", Pushkov said.

    Vyshinsky was detained in Kiev in May 2018 on suspicion of supporting the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk people's republics and treason and has been long held in custody as the court consistently prolongs his detention.

    According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Vyshinsky's arrest is politically motivated and demonstrates the Ukrainian authorities' unacceptable policy of targeting journalists who are simply doing their jobs.

    Desir also expressed his concern over Ukraine's actions toward Vyshinsky and called for the journalist's release, stressing that all OSCE members had pledged to create the necessary conditions to allow journalists to work freely.

    Ukraine, Russia, Kirill Vyshinsky, OSCE
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