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18 May, 2018 17:15

‘Concerned’ Merkel vows to raise Russian journo’s detention with Ukrainian president

‘Concerned’ Merkel vows to raise Russian journo’s detention with Ukrainian president

Speaking after a meeting with President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, German Chancellor Angela Merkel promised to discuss the detention of Russia-linked news agency chief Kirill Vyshynsky with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

“As for the journalist, I will surely discuss my trip to Sochi with the Ukrainian president, I will raise that issue,” Merkel said answering an RT reporter’s question during a joint news conference with Putin. The leaders met in the Russian coastal city of Sochi on Friday.

Vyshynksy, who heads the Kiev bureau of Russian news agency RIA Novosti, was arrested in the Ukrainian capital on Tuesday on suspicion of treason, and will spend 60 days in prison without bail, a Ukrainian court ruled Thursday. Berlin earlier called for standards of media freedom to be maintained and voiced its concern over the situation with the news agency head.  

"We are following this situation with concern and call for ensuring transparency, principles of the rule of law and international standards for media freedom in the course of further proceedings," a spokesperson for the German Foreign Ministry stated on Friday, answering the Sputnik reporter’s question. 

Germany is also discussing the situation, among other issues, with the Ukrainian side, the official added. Earlier, another Foreign Ministry representative, Maria Adebahr, said she had  insufficient knowledge of the situation, but also urged adherence to press freedom. Meanwhile, people gathered near the Ukrainian embassy in Moscow to support the imprisoned Russian journalist on Friday, despite inclement weather.

On Thursday, a Ukrainian court ruled the head of the Russian-linked RIA Novosti Ukraine news agency Vyshynsky would spend 60 days in detention without bail. The news agency head is accused of treason for allegedly helping “a foreign state help in carrying out its activities in Ukraine,” according to prosecutors. He was arrested near his home on Tuesday. On the same day masked Ukraine Security Service (SBU) officers raided the agency’s headquarters in Kiev.

International human rights groups and many journalists voiced concern over Vyshinsky’s arrest. RT’s Editor-In-Chief Margarita Simonyan called the move “a wild witch-hunt on journalists” for merely doing their job.