Residence Of Russian Journalist Held In Ukraine 'Ransacked'

A lawyer for a Russian journalist being held on suspicion of treason in Ukraine says the man’s residence was searched and "ransacked" by Ukrainian police.

Attorney Andriy Domansky spoke to the AFP news agency on June 3, after Russian media reported that RIA Novosti-Ukraine Director Kirill Vyshinsky’s home was raided by police.

Police were still in the apartment, Domansky said at the time of his comments to AFP.

Vyshinsky's wife told RIA Novosti, a Russian state-run news agency, that "everything has been taken...The apartment has been turned upside down."

The location of the apartment was not immediately disclosed. Vyshinsky lived in Kyiv but is now in detention in the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson.

Vyshinky has Ukrainian and Russian citizenship, but said after his arrest that he considers himself solely a Russian citizen. He could be sentenced to 15 years in prison if tried and convicted of treason.

Kyiv police early on June 4 did not confirm they had raided the apartment, saying only that they were investigating the situation.

The Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) on May 15 carried out a large-scale operation against RIA Novosti-Ukraine's staff members -- both at their offices and in several of their apartments -- and detained Vyshinsky outside his home.

The SBU said in a statement afterward that "a network of media structures, which Moscow used for carrying out a hybrid war" against Ukraine, had been uncovered.

The action drew a swift and angry response from Russia, with President Vladimir Putin's spokesman saying Vyshinky's detention was "disgraceful and scandalous" if it was related to his work.

On June 3, the Russian Foreign Ministry released a statement saying, “We demand that Vyshinsky be immediately released and all the accusations against him be removed.”

In Vienna, the OSCE representative on freedom of the media expressed “serious concern” over the raid and called on Ukrainian authorities to “refrain from imposing unnecessary limitations on the work of foreign journalists.”

"The fight against propaganda must not fall short of international standards and should not represent disproportionate interference in media activities," Harlem Desir said in a statement.

Ties between Moscow and Kyiv have been severely damaged by Russia's seizure of Crimea in 2014 and its support for separatists in a war that has killed more than 10,300 people in eastern Ukraine.

With reporting by AFP and Interfax