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2 Nov, 2018 12:50

Rally at Ukrainian Embassy in Moscow demands release of Russian journalist (PHOTOS)

Rally at Ukrainian Embassy in Moscow demands release of Russian journalist (PHOTOS)

Prominent journalists and officials have rallied in Moscow to demand the release of Russian journalist Kirill Vyshinsky, held in Ukraine for over six months on suspicion of treason.

“Free Kirill Vyshinsky!” chanted scores of people who came to support the imprisoned head of RIA Novosti Ukraine news agency on Friday. Margarita Simonyan, the editor-in-chief of RT and Sputnik, as well as Russian media executive Dmitry Kiselev, Russian lawmakers and rights activists took part in the rally near Ukraine's diplomatic mission in the Russian capital.


No one from the embassy came to face the demonstrators.

The journalists blasted Kiev for persecution of dissenting voices, with Simonyan condemning the West's “hypocrisy” over Vyshinsky's case. Speaking at the event, she said that while it is the West which always tries to teach other countries freedom of speech and democracy, it is now reluctant to comment on the issue.


Moscow demands that Kiev immediately frees the journalist as he was arrested for merely doing his job, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday.

“We think that Vyshinsky is to be immediately freed, it's not the issue of any swaps,” Peskov said. The spokesman added that the journalist's imprisonment violates all the international rules and is an infringement of press freedoms.

Vyshinsky has been held in Ukraine on treason charges since May. Ukrainian authorities maintain that he supported the self-proclaimed rebel republics of Lugansk and Donetsk. On Thursday, a court in Kherson ruled to extend the arrest of the journalist till December 28.

The crackdown on the journalist was condemned from the beginning by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). The organization has recently called on Kiev to end Vyshinsky's pre-trial detention and to conduct a thorough investigation.

“I call on the Ukrainian authorities to expedite the investigation on the serious charges brought against Vyshinsky, and to conduct such an investigation in full compliance with the principles of rule of law, necessity and proportionality,” Harlem Désir, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, said on Monday.

On Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger and said Kiev's actions should be met with a response. The top Russian diplomat reiterated that Vyshinsky was merely doing his job while Ukraine “purged” Russian media.

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