Putin: Ukraine’s Imprisonment of Journalists is Unprecedented

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Russian President Vladimir Putin, commenting on the arrest of the head of RIA Novosti Ukraine portal, Kirill Vyshinsky, declared that “this is something unprecedented.”

Putin explained that he discussed the problem of the detention of the head of RIA Novosti Ukraine with the German chancellor, Angela Merkel.

In turn, Merkel vowed to discuss the arrest of Vyshinsky in Kiev with the president of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko.

“As for the journalist [Vyshinsky], of course I will discuss with the Ukrainian president during his visit today and I will mention the case. As I said, the Russian journalists who are here [in Ukraine] are arrested and cannot exercise their work, which makes us worried,” Merkel said after talks with President Putin.

On May 15, officials from the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) invaded the office where the correspondents of RIA Novosti Ukraine work in the capital of the country, conducting searches that lasted about eight hours.

Vyshinsky is suspected of supporting the self-proclaimed republics of Donbass and of treason. The SBU also carried out searches  in the apartment of the RIA Novosti correspondent in Ukraine, Lyudmila Lysenko. In addition, since Tuesday morning, it has been impossible to contact the representative of the RIA Novosti office in Ukraine, Andrei Borodin.

The director general of news agency Rossiya Segodnya , Dmitry Kiselev, also commented on the arrest’s political context: “In Ukraine there is no politician whose approval exceeds 15%, and very often this consists of votes bought,” Kiselev said. “Ukrainians are disappointed with politics and with political institutions in general.”

“[Ukrainian President] Poroshenko has 4% [of expected votes], and he wants to ensure the informational space on the eve of the presidential elections to technically prolong his term,” he added.

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