Head of RIA Novosti Ukraine refuses Ukrainian citizenship in court

Kirill Vyshinsky, head of the publication RIA Novosti Ukraine and a suspect of high treason, publicly refused his Ukrainian citizenship in favor of his Russian citizenship, which he received in 2015, during a trial in the Kherson Oblast Appeals Court.

"I appeal [for help] to [Ukrainian] President [Petro] Poroshenko regarding my withdrawal from Ukrainian citizenship and ask you to transfer this statement to the presidential administration. From this moment, I consider myself only a citizen of Russia," he said.

"I appeal to Russian President Vladimir Putin with a request to take all necessary measures for my early release, as well as to provide me with legal protection," he added in court, where they are considering an appeal as to whether Vyshinsky should remain in custody.

Vyshinsky was detained next to his house on May 15, at the same time that the RIA Novosti Ukraine office was searched. A case was brought against Vyshinsky for suspicion of state treason. According to the SBU’s press service, a Russian passport and a medal "for the return of the Crimea" were found at Vyshinsky's home.

The Special Services reported that Vyshinsky went to the Crimea in the spring of 2014, where, on instructions from the leadership of the international news agency Russia Today, he took direct part in propaganda actions aimed at supporting the annexation and incorporation of the peninsula to the Russian Federation. The added that “upon his return to Kyiv, Vyshinsky called on subordinate journalists for the production of materials in favor of terrorist organizations [from the LPR and DPR]."

RIA Novosti fell under Ukrainian sanctions in May 2018.

  RIA Novosti, Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine, SBU, Vyshinsky