RIA Novosti correspondent in Lithuania Irina Vysokovich said that the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) tried to recruit her. This supposedly took place on June 1 in Kherson, where she had gone to cover the trial of Kirill Vyshinsky, head of RIA Novosti Ukraine, RIA Novosti reports.
According to Vysokovich, unknown persons in civilian clothes approached her at the entrance to the court hall, after which one of the women started accusing her of working for the First Baltic TV channel, which is banned in Ukraine.
“Initially they took me out to the street, under the pretext of rescuing me from angry Ukrainian patriots. They put me in a car, after identifying themselves as SBU agents, and said that we were going to a branch of the Service,” the journalist stated.
She claims that none of the agents who spoke to her identified themselves completely.
“There were many questions about my work at the First Baltic Channel, which I have not worked for in a long time. When asked who I am covering the Vyshinsky trial for, I replied honestly that I am working with RIA Novosti. After this, one of the men said that they were prepared to let me go, but their boss ‘demands blood’ and the ‘promotion of the situation’, and so I would have to sign several documents,” Vysokovich claims.
When asked whether she had been pressurized, the journalist said: “Yes, they pressurized [me], but in a gentle manner, they said softly and pleasantly that I could remain there, but if I told them honestly what they were interested in, I could go home”.
After several hours of such discussion, which was not formally documented, the journalist was allegedly made to sign a document on her willingness to collaborate with the SBU, and to tell them about RIA Novosti staff.
“They told me that my alias would be Mila, I would be released, and contacted later, otherwise I would remain there for a long time. Before I could be released, I would have to say on camera that I have no claims against the SBU,” the journalist claims.
Vysokovich was able to return to Lithuania, but due to the arrest, which was not even documented formally, she was unable to write her report on the Vyshinsky trial.