TASS reported on January 17 that investigators from the office of Ukraine’s Prosecutor General are presently searching the home and office of Andrei Domansky, attorney of the RIA Novosti (Ukraine) news outlet’s chief editor, Kirill Vyshinsky. This is an extension of the Ukrainian SBU’s “investigation” into RIA Novosti Ukraine staff, who are presently accused of high treason against the government of Ukraine. The SBU claimed that Moscow was using a network of “media structures” to carry out a “hybrid war” against Kyiv.
Kirill Vyshinsky was arrested on May 15, 2018 as part of the investigation. The SBU charged Mr. Vyshinsky based on a number of his articles regarding the rejoining of Crimea to the Russian Federation in 2014. He has been held in jail ever since, though initially his jail time was just supposed to be 60 days. It got extended and he is still in jail. An earlier report from TASS gives details:
On May 15, the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) carried out a large-scale operation against RIA Novosti Ukraine staff members, accusing them of high treason. The news agency’s Editor-in-chief Kirill Vyshinsky was taken into custody.The journalist was then transferred to the city of Kherson, where a city court arrested him for 60 days. His arrest was later extended until November 4.
The charges against Vyshinsky are particularly based on a number of articles dedicated to the 2014 events in Crimea. If found guilty, the journalist may face up to 15 years, but he pleaded not guilty.
Vyshinsky, originally a Ukrainian national, obtained Russian citizenship as well in 2015. But on June 1st after his arrest, he addressed Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko from the courtroom, renouncing his Ukrainian citizenship and saying he considered himself to be only a Russian national. He also addressed Russian President Vladimir Putin, asking for legal assistance in his release.
“I appeal [for help] to [Ukrainian] President [Petro] Poroshenko, whom I know personally and with whom we have done several good deeds,” he said. “I declare my withdrawal from my Ukrainian citizenship — from this moment I consider myself only a citizen of Russia.”
Vyshinsky also called for an “immediate” end to what he called the “persecution” of his family members and friends and appealed to Ukrainian Human Rights Commissioner Lyudmila Denysova to take note of his case.
“What is happening here and with me now is a gross violation of human rights,” he said.
He said his arrest is a “political order” and suggested that he was arrested in order to use him in a swap with Moscow for a Ukrainian being held in Russia.
His attorney, Andrei Domansky, is presently also in Kherson, located in south central Ukraine. On January 17th, Mr. Domansky posted this update on Facebook about his current situation:
“The Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office has decided to search my home and office, as well as the home of my assistant, while I am away in Kherson, studying the case files and waiting for a court hearing of the request to extend Kirill Vyshinsky’s arrest.”
The Kremlin called for Mr. Vyshinsky’s release on November 2 of last year. Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov addressed this matter at that time.
“We believe that Vyshinsky should be released immediately. This is not the issue of any exchanges,” the Kremlin spokesman stressed, when asked why Moscow was opposed to exchanging Vyshinsky for Ukrainian national Roman Sushchenko convicted of espionage in Russia.
Peskov stressed that Vyshinsky’s arrest was “a direct violation of all international rules in general, the press freedom principle, because he was actually arrested for his journalistic activities.”
Answering a question from Roman Tsymbalyuk, a correspondent of Ukraine’s UNIAN news agency, the Kremlin spokesman noted that Vyshinsky’s activity was no different from Tsymbalyuk’s work in Moscow. “We welcome the fact that you are in Moscow. You know that your work in Moscow is not restricted in any way. We could see you yesterday on Channel One in the Bolshaya Igra (The Great Game) program, if I am not mistaken,” Peskov said addressing the UNIAN journalist. “However, we regret to say that Russian journalists in Ukraine have no opportunity to appear on national TV channels.”
Charges against Vyshinsky are related to a number of the journalist’s articles dedicated to the 2014 re-entry of Crimea into the Russian Federation. Vyshinsky presently is on record with a not guilty plea.
One of the interesting connections that has no doubt brought the wrath of the Poroshenko regíme down on Mr. Vyshinsky is his commentary about the autocephaly issue in Ukraine, currently resulting in a “union and rehabilitation” of Ukrainian schismatics into a “national Ukrainian church”, which goes by the name “The Orthodox Church in Ukraine.”
Most of the statements surrounding this church have been about throwing off Russian control and glorifying Ukraine. In this video clip below, Vyshinsky discusses the matter of autocephaly. While the whole clip is given here, and while we recommend viewing all of it, the comments regarding the autocephaly begin at [4:44] in the video.
In the video Mr. Vyshinsky makes it abundantly clear (with written records) that he was in effect, arrested out of the blue, for doing nothing but fielding opinions. Some opinions his publication printed were pro Poroshenko – West and some not. But he makes it clear that these opinions were those of the people who stated them. He notes with great detail how this happened. He absolutely criticizes the authorities in Ukraine for restricting freedom of the press.
Petro Poroshenko’s Ukraine resembles the United States in that it is a tempest in a teapot. In the US’ case, it is about a mad establishment government against a reformer president. In Ukraine it is about a whole government gone mad against Russia, and for no clearly understandable set of reasons. Both situations are insane and likely to continue for the foreseeable future.