The trial against Chief Editor of the RIA Novosti Ukraine Kirill Vyshinsky is absurd, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with the Argumenty i Fakty daily.
"The trial in the case of the RIA Novosti Ukraine chief editor resembles the theater of the absurd. There is no doubt that the journalist was arrested illegally, only because he worked for a Russian media outlet and honestly covered current developments. Ukrainian prosecutors seem to understand it as they have been postponing hearings, citing the need to study the case files," TASS quoted Lavrov as saying.
He reiterated Russia’s demands that the journalist be immediately released and his rights be fully restored. "Our diplomats maintain contacts with his lawyers as Ukraine failed to provide us with access to the journalist himself.
We are doing our best, working with foreign partners, particularly on international platforms, encouraging them to influence Kiev so that a positive solution can be found," the Russian top diplomat noted.
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 Chief Editor 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 are particularly based on a number of the journalist’s articles dedicated to the 2014 events in Crimea. If found guilty, the journalist may face up to 15 years.