The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) expressed concern over the Ukraine Security Service's (SBU) search of the Kiev office of the Russian state news agency RIA Novosti on Tuesday and the detention of the office director, Kirill Vyshynsky.
A spokeswoman for the SBU, Elena Gitlyanskaya confirmed that the SBU conducted searches at the Kiev office of Russian news agency RIA Novosti today.
Moscow has been accused of fuelling a rebel conflict in eastern Ukraine that broke out after the annexation of Crimea that has cost the lives of some 10,000 people.
Ukrainian safety company SBU stated in a press release that it's investigating "a community of media retailers" managed by the Russian authorities that are "used as instruments in a hybrid warfare towards Ukraine".
According to Hitlianska, law enforcers also detained Kiril Vyshynsky, an employee of RIA Novosti-Ukraine, in Kyiv on Tuesday morning. The SBU said he received ample funding to carry out his work in the region. "That was the reason for the searches". Now we know only about the acts of force taken toward the Russian mass media, the measures that restrict the freedom of our journalists and they can not get in touch.
"If it is the case that the actions of Ukrainian law enforcement bodies are somehow connected with the professional work of these media organisations, that would be outrageous and scandalous", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists. "This is not the first time when the Kiev regime tramples on fundamental rights and freedoms, persecutes journalists..." RTs editor-in-chief, Margarita Simonyan, linked the raids and arrest to the opening of the bridge.
Russian Federation will adopt "reciprocal measures" in response to the incident, but more details on the case are needed, Peskov said.
RIA Novosti deputy editor-in-chief, Dmitry Gornostayev, told TASS later in the day that the chief of the RIA Novosti bureau in Kiev, Andrei Borodin, can not be contacted and there is the suspicion he has been detained by the SBU.
The Ukrainian government has intensified its attempts to weaken Russia's influence on its population through the Russian state media, which Kiev claims Moscow uses to stir up anti-Ukrainian sentiment and foment hostilities.
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