On June 9th, Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to a telephone conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart, Petro Poroshenko, in what Fort Russ’ guest analyst has called “Putin’s warning against war.” During the call, Putin stressed the need to immediately release Russian journalists detained in Ukraine, the Kremlin’s press office has since covered.
Vladimir Putin stressed the importance of the immediate release of Russian journalists detained in Ukraine, the Kremlin statement said: “The talks focused on humanitarian issues, including the exchange of detainees.”
As part of a long-running string of repression against journalists in Ukraine, on May 15th, the head of the news agency RIA Novosti Ukraine, Kirill Vyshinsky, was arrested in Kiev. Two days after his arrest, a Ukrainian court in Kherson ordered the journalist to be kept in detention for 60 days. The journalist’s defense made an appeal, but the court eventually rejected it.
Vyshinsky’s arrest has sparked much criticism from Moscow. Vladimir Putin called Vyshinsky’s arrest something unprecedented and Moscow sent a note of protest to Kiev, demanding to cease violence against journalists.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the actions of the Ukrainian authorities with regard to journalists are unacceptable, while the Russian embassy handed two protest notes to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry calling for a cessation of violence against journalists.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the Council of Europe also expressed concerns about the arrest of the Russian journalist.
The apartment of the head of the Russian agency RIA Novosti, Kirill Vyshinsky – imprisoned in Ukraine since the middle of last month – has been broken into and police are “working at the scene”, lawyer Andrei Domansky said.
“The apartment was robbed, now the police are registering [the damage],” Domansky said.
On May 15, the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) raided RIA Novosti’s office in Kiev. Vyshinsky, the head of the portal, was arrested on suspicion of treason and supporting the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk (DPR) and Lugansk (LPR).
Security services also searched the homes of Andrei Borodin, head of Ukraine’s RIA Novosti news agency and Lyudmila Lysenko, a Ukraine-based RIA Novosti correspondent.