Imprisonment without charges: Russian journalist remains in Ukrainian prison a year on

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KIEV – Wednesday marked the first year since the arrest in Kiev of Kirill Vyshinsky, head of the news portal RIA Novosti Ukraine, accused of high treason and support for the self-proclaimed republics in Donbass.

One year ago, on May 15, 2018, Russian journalist Kirill Vyshinsky was arrested in Ukraine. He was charged with treason and support for the self-proclaimed people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk in the Donbass region of Ukraine.

The journalist continues to state that his arrest is part of a campaign by the Ukrainian authorities to seek support before the 2019 presidential and parliamentary elections.

Vyshinsky’s arrest sparked criticism from different rights groups for journalists who claim that such detention is unacceptable in a democratic society.

To show solidarity with the journalist, yesterday near the Ukrainian Embassy in Moscow, an action was taken in support of the journalists, public figures, human rights activists and all those who want to demonstrate their solidarity with Vyshinsky.

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In April 2019, journalists wrote to the winner in the Ukrainian presidential elections, Vladimir Zelensky, a letter calling for him to contribute to the release of the head of the RIA Novosti branch office in Kiev. The letter was signed by more than 250 journalists from Russia and other countries.

In a letter published on May 14, Vyshinsky, who is currently imprisoned in Kiev, thanked his colleagues for their support and for sending the letter to Zelensky.

Russian President Vladimir Putin also stood in his favor and said Vyshinsky’s arrest was politically motivated. Putin added that the incident demonstrated an unacceptable policy on the part of Kiev.

On May 7, 2019, the Kiev court decided to extend Vyshinsky’s arrest until July 22.

It remains to be seen what the new Ukrainian president’s position is on the release of Vyshinsky. It is expected that Russia will exert pressure on Kiev to release the journalist.

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