Ukrainian court releases Russian journalist after a year in jail

Ukrainian court releases Russian journalist after a year in jail

Kyiv (Agencies): A Ukrainian court on Wednesday released a Russian journalist on parole after more than a year in jail.

Kirill Vyshinskiy, the Kyiv bureau chief for the Russian state RIA-Novosti news agency, had been in custody since his arrest on treason charges in May 2018.

The journalist, who has Ukrainian citizenship, has rejected the charges, saying that he only did his work as a journalist.

The court's decision to set Vyshinskiy free appears to herald the start of a prisoner swap with Russia that has been discussed since former comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy won the Ukrainian presidency in April.

Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Kremlin welcomes Vyshinskiy's release, but he wouldn't say if Russia would respond in kind and release Ukrainian prisoners.

Ukraine has urged Russia to release 24 Ukrainian sailors captured off Crimea in November, along with other prisoners, while Russia has demanded the release of some other prisoners in Ukrainian custody.

Speaking after the court's ruling, Vyshinskiy expressed his gratitude to Harlem Desir, the media freedom representative for the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, who has pushed for his release.