On May 15, the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) broke into the office of RIA Novosti Ukraine in Kiev. Vyshinsky was detained on charges of treason. The SBU accuses Vyshinsky of supporting the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) and Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) in Ukraine's southeast. Next day, the Ukrainian authorities transferred the journalist from Kiev to Kherson prison. On May 17, a court in the Ukrainian city of Kherson has ruled to arrest Kirill Vyshinsky for 60 days.
People have gathered in front of the Ukrainian embassy in Moscow to express their support to Kirill Vyshinsky.
Margarita Simonyan, the editor-in-chief of the Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency and RT broadcaster said during the protest that every person, who speaks against the policy taken by the current Ukrainian government, was in danger.
"Everyone in Ukraine, who is expressing the position different from that of the Kiev authorities, is at risk, and this risk is growing bigger as the elections in Ukraine approach," Simonyan said.
At the same time, Rossiya Segodnya Director General Dmitry Kiselev said that the arrest resembled the inquisition and stressed that the journalist should be freed, noting that any means, including his possible exchange for Ukrainian citizens jailed in Russia, would do.
"We have gathered here to express our protest against the inquisition, in fact. Because it very much resembles the inquisition — a person faces an absolutely absurd accusation of something he has not done, something he could not even commit, and then they simply destroy him…" Kiselev said.
RT and Sputnik Editor @M_Simonyan and General Director Dmitry Kiselev holding banners saying #TruthNotTreason & #ЦеЕвропа at a protest near Ukrainian embassy in Moscow, demanding the release of RIA Novosti Ukraine portal head Kirill Vyshinsky held in custody by the SBU @rianru pic.twitter.com/fy1fLslCWU— Sputnik Insight (@Sputnik_Insight) May 18, 2018
Putin and Merkel React on Vyshinsky's Detention
Russian President Vladimir Putin called the detention of RIA Novosti Ukraine portal head Kirill Vyshinsky in Kiev unprecedented, he discussed the situation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
"As for the detention of journalists, I agree with you. This is unprecedented. A person is charged with high treason for what he did publicly performing his professional duties. I haven't seen it for a long time, can't remember such things happening for a long time. We touched upon this issue, as well as other problems that we face in Ukraine, but I would not like to go into details," Putin said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she will discuss with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko the situation with the detention of RIA Novosti Ukraine portal head Kirill Vyshinsky in Kiev.
"As for the journalist [Vyshinsky], I will certainly discuss my current trip with the Ukrainian president, I will mention this case. As I said, Russian journalists who are here are arrested and can't do their work, which also causes our concern," Merkel noted after talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.