Ukraine searches Russian state media offices: Kiev

Ruslan Shamukov  TASS

As a justification for the raid, Ukraine's Prosecutor-General Yuriy Lutsenko called the editorial policy of RIA Ukraine and Vyshinsky in particular "anti-Ukrainian" in nature, amounting to "state treason".

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova was quoted by TASS news agency as saying that the USA state department should insist on the release of the journalists instead of being lenient to the Ukrainian government.

"They broke into our office, there is no contact with the employees, our website is not updated, telephones are blocked", she wrote on Twitter.

A spokeswoman for the SBU, Elena Gitlyanskaya confirmed that the SBU conducted searches at the Kiev office of Russian news agency RIA Novosti today. "We also call on Ukrainian authorities to stop harassing and obstructing Russian media operating in Ukraine". A passport of a Russian citizen was found during the search of his office.

On May 15, the SBU carried out a large-scale operation against RIA Novosti Ukraine staff members, accusing them of high treason.

Zakharova criticized the situation, when the Western states and global organizations did not pay enough attention to these developments.

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"We believe that this forbearance directly threatens the future of the common European space because it is promoting the suppression of dissent in the worst totalitarian traditions", the spokesperson added. "We will address global structures, including those related to journalism, in the OSCE, in order to stop the persecution of journalists in Ukraine", Kiselev stressed. The SBU and prosecutors had uncovered the illegal activity of a Russian-controlled media chain in Ukraine.

The majority of Western states and worldwide organizations have not responded to the developments in Kiev, however several remarks have been made. "This applies to the accreditation of journalists and correspondents of foreign media", he added.

OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Harlem Desir raised concern over the SBU raids.

"I express serious concern about this morning's raid on Russian media offices in Kyiv, the arrest of journalists, and the search of journalists" homes.

He recalled that "under the Helsinki Final Act, the OSCE participating States have committed to facilitating the conditions under which journalists from one participating State exercise their profession in another participating State".

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