Return of reporter Kirill Vyshinsky, who had been arrested in Ukraine, to Russia may become the first step towards normalizing the relations between Moscow and Kiev, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Thursday following a request for comment on the statement by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, in which he stressed that the release of Ukrainian sailors detained in the Kerch Strait in November 2018 may serve as the first step towards normalizing dialogue.
"Of course, the return of Vyshinsky could be the perfect first step. Actually, any steps for releasing people will be welcome," he replied to a question about which measure would serve as a good start in normalizing the bilateral relations, TASS reports.
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 Editor-in-Chief 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 basically have to do with 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 in prison.
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."