15:09 GMT14 May 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - RIA Novosti Ukraine portal head Kirill Vyshinsky, who has been held in Ukrainian custody for over a year, pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to "absurd" charges brought against him by Ukraine's prosecution, the journalist's lawyer Andrei Domansky said.

    “At today's meeting after the end of the indictment, Kirill did not admit his guilt and said that the accusations were absurd. Also during the meeting, Kirill asked for clarification on a number of incomprehensible points that were included in the indictment," Domansky said.

    Domansky added that the court could not explain the points because it did not itself understand the charges.

    Vyshinsky was detained in Kiev on 15 May 2018, on suspicion of treason and of supporting Ukraine's eastern breakaway republics. He faces up to 15 years in prison if found guilty.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Vyshinsky's arrest was politically motivated and that the incident had demonstrated the unprecedented and unacceptable policy of Ukrainian authorities in targeting journalists.

    Harlem Desir, a representative on freedom of the media at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, expressed his concern over Ukraine's actions toward Vyshinsky and called for the journalist's release.

    The organization's secretary general, Thomas Greminger, said that all member states should comply with international standards and avoid interfering in the work of the media.


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