RIA Novosti Ukraine Editor-in-Chief Kirill Vyshinsky's lawyer Andrei Domansky said that the recent searches of his home and working offices in Kiev by the Ukrainian security services were an attempt to discredit him, speaking ahead of an hearing on Vyshinky’s case at Kherson Court on Thursday.

“I understand that this is the answer, the reaction of our government to my statements about the violation of freedom of speech and the persecution of journalists,” the lawyer said.

“I associate this with the case that will be heard today in the Kherson City Court because the defendant is in Kherson,” he added.

During the court hearing, Kirill Vyshinsky himself described the searches “as an undisguised pressure on my defenders' group and, like the actions of the Prosecutor General’s Office, to disrupt the normal work in my defence on the day of the court hearing.”

“These are demonstrations of the fact that the General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine has a very weak legal position. They cannot allow normal work in court. And in such ways they exert undisguised pressure on my defender,” he added.

At the end of the hearing, the city court of Kherson announced the decision extend Vyshinsky’s custody until February 16.

The RIA journalist is being held on suspicion of treason, which carries a prison sentence of up to 15 years.

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