Zelensky's office offers Russia to release Sentsov, while Ukraine sets Vyshynsky free

Earlier, Russia offered Ukraine to release the Editor-in-Chief of RIA Novosti news agency; a simultaneous release of these two men would become a good first step to improve bilateral relations, said Zelensky's press secretary
08:05, 19 July 2019


Ukraine goes for a counter-offer as Russia proposes to release Kyrylo Vyshynsky, the Editor-in-Chief of RIA Novosti news agency. In return, Kyiv offers Moscow to release Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov. Yulia Mendel, the press secretary of Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky reported that on her Facebook page.

"The President's Office has been really interested, learning about Russia's offer on the release of Kyrylo Vyshynsky as the first step of good will from the Ukrainian side. We fully support the policy of good will steps, offering Russia to take a step, too, setting Oleg Sentsov free. For bilateral confidence in the good will we offer to do this simultaneously", reads the message.

Earlier, Dmitriy Peskov, the press secretary of Russian leader Vladimir Putin offered Ukraine to release Kyrylo Vyshynsky, the Editor-in-Chief of RIA Novosti news agency. He was detained in May 2018. Kherson city court arrested him - initially for two months. In January 2019, the pre-trial investigation was over, and the defense team got the opportunity to consider the case materials. Vyshynsky calls the whole case politically motivated; he previously gave up his Ukrainian citizenship and turned to Russian leader Putin for help.

Related: Ukraine's MFA once again calls on Russia to release Sentsov

The Investigation found out that in spring 2014, Vyshynsky was appointed as the Editor-in-Chief of RIA Novosti Ukraine, based in Kyiv; he visited Crimea, joining the propagandist actions aiming to support the annexation of the Crimean peninsula and merging it with the Russian Federation. When he returned to Kyiv, he made the reporters from his agency write stories in support of the so-called "republics" in Donbas. He could face 15 years behind the bars.

Oleg Sentsov, the Ukrainian filmmaker was detained in the Russia-annexed Crimea in spring 2014. The Russian prosecutors charged him with preparation of a terrorist act in Crimea. In August 2015, the North Caucasian District Military Court in Rostov-on-Don sentenced him to 20 years in a strict regime colony. In protest, Sentsov refused to eat for 145 days and stopped the hunger strike due to the threat of forced feeding.

Related: Vyshynsky case: Court reschedules next session for July 15

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