Chief of RIA Novosti's Kyiv office indicted on charges of treason - SBU

Sergei Savostianov  TASS

Ukraine's domestic security agency, the SBU, on Tuesday raided the Kyiv offices of RIA Novosti, a Russian state-owned news outlet.

Lutsenko described Russia Today as "the descendants of Goebbels" and said that the investigation has evidence that RIAN were carrying out well-paid information attacks on Ukraine. The reporter was not detained, but his laptop and tablet PC were confiscated, and he was summoned to SBU next week.

The CPJ was not able to locate Vyshynsky and find out whether he had been formally charged, the release said.

A spokeswoman for the SBU, Elena Gitlyanskaya confirmed that the SBU conducted searches at the Kiev office of Russian news agency RIA Novosti today.

"Today the Prosecutor's Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the SBU moved to the active phase of neutralizing the anti-Ukrainian activities of another Russian media entity", he wrote on his Facebook page on Tuesday. "So far we only know that they [Ukrainian authorities] used force against the Russian media [and] deployed measures to restrict the freedom of our journalists..." the spokesman added. "The criminalization of alternative news and views has no place in a democratic Ukraine".

Ukraine's actions against RIA Novosti-Ukraine and Vyshynsky come amid tensions between Kiev and Moscow over Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea and its support of an armed separatist movement in eastern Ukraine that has claimed over 10,300 lives, according to the United Nations.

Earlier on May 15, the Security Service of Ukraine announced that it had exposed a media network run by Russian Federation and carried out searches at the RIA Novosti's Kyiv office. "I reiterate my call on the authorities to refrain from imposing unnecessary limitations on the work of foreign journalists, which affects the free flow of information and freedom of the media", Desir said in a statement published on the OSCE website.

Ukrainian authorities have previously detained or deported several journalists for spreading anti-Ukrainian propaganda and supporting the separatists' cause.

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