"Russian roulette" of Ukraine's journalist Sushchenko

Author : Borys Sokolov

Source : 112 Ukraine

The arrest of Ukrainian journalist has been considered in the context of a general strengthening of confrontation between Russia and the West
13:11, 5 October 2016

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Arrest of Ukrainian journalist Roman Sushchenko is quite an ordinary thing for Russia. However, this time there is some discrepancy in the position of various Russian agencies. Federal Security Service officially said that the 47-year-old Ukrainian Roman Sushchenko is Colonel Chief of Intelligence Defense of Ukraine who deliberately collected state secret information on the activities of the armed forces of Russia. Meanwhile, the Russian Foreign Ministry was much less bloodthirsty and stated that Ukrainian journalist in Russia did not have the journalistic accreditation, and this is the main problem. Since Sushchenko "was in Russia with no journalistic accreditation from the Foreign Ministry," it means that he did not come to Russia to perform his journalistic functions." Therefore, the suppression of free speech and violation of journalists' rights has nothing to do with Sushchenko’s arrest.

Related: Another "spy": Who is journalist Sushchenko and why he was detained in Russia?

I wonder how can a journalist be accredited in Russia, if he is correspondent of "Ukrinform" in France for more than six years? He just came to Russia on vacations, to meet with relatives. Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said the following: "This is a common work of special services, if I understand correctly, this man who calls himself a journalist had no accreditation, which is obligatory for a foreign journalist... I cannot tell you whether the president knows about this issue. It is not on the Kremlin’s agenda."

Related: Bezsmertny: Sushchenko’s arrest in Russia not coincidental

All these official versions contain questionable parts. If Sushchenko "deliberately collected information constituting a state secret," a question arises, when did he do that. He was detained on his first day in Russia, September 30. According to the FSB video, Roman did not do anything compromising. At the moment of detention, he obviously was not in contact with some agent.

Related: Ukrainian consul prevented from visiting detained Kolchenko

Of course, special services employees often use journalistic cover. But it would be rather strange to use an agent, who has been working in France for many years, to spy in Russia. Intelligence work in Russia and France differs fundamentally. Such actions would look very unprofessional.

Related: Feygin: Sushchenko feels fine, denies his guilt

Everything that happens to Sushchenko, still looks like a hasty improvisation. Ukrainian journalists inspire a mystical fear that they could write about Russia something that will frustrate Putin. Therefore, Russia is purposely fighting against them, using all means. Therefore, Ukrainian journalists in Russia belong to the group of risk.

Related: Letter of Ukrainian political prisoner Sentsov kept in Russia

Apparently the FSB, thought that a deportation is not enough, and it was decided to inflate loud spy case and get another Ukrainian hostage for a long time. Such a serious decision, of course, could not be made without the approval of Putin.

Related: Ukrainian consul still banned from visiting Sushchenko, - Foreign Ministry

October 1, Lefortovo court of Moscow arrested a Ukrainian journalist for two months, and already 2 October he was allegedly accidentally discovered in FSB prison "Lefortovo" by the Russian human rights activists who carried out routine checks in prison. According to the supervisory committee representative Zoya Svetlova: "October 2, when checking Lefortovo prison in quarantine department, we accidentally saw a man in prisoner overall. Tanned young man. It was a Ukrainian journalist Roman Sushchenko. With great difficulty we managed to find out his name and surname. He said he was a foreigner. Employees of the jail strongly hindered us to talk. The only thing he said he was not tortured during detention, but was subjected to serious psychological pressure. He could not call his family. He could not call Ukrainian consul. And he was concerned that no one know about his detention."

Frankly, a random meeting with human rights activists, Roman Sushchenko was hard to believe. Jail "Lefortovo" with very strict security regime is not a place of accidental meetings.

Related: Ukraine to turn to PACE, OSCE on illegal detention of Sushchenko, - Parubiy

Russia has voiced the news about Sushchenko’s arrest through the human right defenders, albeit more or less loyal to the current Russian authorities. In fact, news of the arrest were published October 3, when the news agencies wrote about break of US-Russia agreements on plutonium and the US withdrawal from the bilateral negotiations with Russia on Syria.

Related: Putin intimidates with plutonium: the danger of Russia's threats

Thus, the arrest of Ukrainian journalist has been considered in the context of a general strengthening of confrontation between Russia and the West. Ukraine would try to exchange Sushchenko for some of those detained Russian agents. A trip of Ukrainian journalist without accreditation became a real game of "Russian roulette."

Related: IFJ calls on Russia to free Sushchenko

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