The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) calls on Ukraine to release Russian journalist Kirill Vyshinsky from custody, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Harlem Desir told reporters in Bishkek on Wednesday.
“I’m concerned a lot about the situation of RIA Novosti bureau chief in Kiev Kirill Vyshinsky,” the official pointed out. “I raised his case several times in my contacts with the Ukrainian authorities. There was a decision to postpone court hearing until later this week to take a decision about what will happen next. I reiterate my call for the release of Kirill Vyshinsky,” Desir said.
“No journalist should be detained for his or her activities. Kirill Vyshinsky was operating, was working openly as a journalist in Kiev for many years. Even if his view is different from that of the government, he should not have been arrested for this and I really wish that he is released soon. I will spare no effort to achieve this result,” the OSCE envoy noted.
“The next court hearing on the case of Kirill Vyshinsky is due on July 19, this week, and I really appeal to the Ukrainian authorities to take this opportunity to release him,” Desir concluded.
On Monday, Kiev’s Podolsky District Court postponed the hearing of the Vyshinsky case to July 19. According to the court, the decision was made “due to judges being present in the retiring room for another case.”
On May 15, 2018, the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) carried out a large-scale operation against RIA Novosti Ukraine staff members, accusing them of high treason. The news outlet’s Editor-in-Chief Kirill Vyshinsky was arrested. The SBU issued a statement claiming that “a network of media structures, which Moscow used for carrying out a hybrid war” against Kiev had been exposed.
Charges against Vyshinsky basically have to do with his articles dedicated to the 2014 events in Crimea. If found guilty, the journalist may face up to 15 years.