Tuesday, 26 March, 2019


Ukraine's SBU searches Kiev offices of Russia Today and RIA Novosti

Ruslan Shamukov  TASS Ruslan Shamukov TASS
Bennie Garza | 16 May, 2018, 08:46

Ukraine's domestic security agency, the SBU, on Tuesday raided the Kyiv offices of RIA Novosti, a Russian state-owned news outlet.

US Department of State Spokesperson Heather Nauert has earlier told reporters that Washington took the raid on RIA Novosti Ukraine journalists in Kiev "very seriously" and urged to take such measures in full compliance with the law.

The SBU issued a statement announcing that "a network of media structures, which Moscow used for carrying out a hybrid war" against Kiev has been uncovered.

"Currently, the preliminary qualification of the criminal offence (.) is treason", a representative of the prosecutors office, Igor Ponochovny, told journalists during a joint briefing with the SBU official.

"Today we can say that he received 53,000 a month for such activities", said Kononenko. "The money was subsequently distributed to the groups and people involved". Russian Federation immediately condemned the searches and detention of Vyshynsky. "We also call on Ukrainian authorities to stop harassing and obstructing Russian media operating in Ukraine".

"Lavrov said it was "far from the first time" that the Ukrainian authorities have "restricted the activities" of Russian journalists in Ukraine". RTs editor-in-chief, Margarita Simonyan, linked the raids and arrest to the opening of the bridge.

She said that more details would be made public later.

RIA Novosti stated on Tuesday that Ukrainian intelligence officers stormed its workplace in Kiev and that it has been unable to get in contact with its correspondents there since.

RIA Novosti Ukraine confirmed the search of its premises and the detention of journalist Kirill Vyshinsky. Some of them are responsible for transmitting information to its headquarters in Moscow while others, led by Vyshynsky, are in charge of the ria.com.ua website for the Ukrainian audience.

The Ukrainian government has intensified its attempts to weaken Russia's influence on its population through the Russian state media, which Kiev claims Moscow uses to stir up anti-Ukrainian sentiment and foment hostilities.

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