Ukraine arrests St. Petersburg sports columnist for treason
Ukrainian authorities have arrested a reporter for the St. Petersburg news agency Nevskie Novosti on charges of high treason. The journalist, Andrey Zakharchuk, is a Ukrainian citizen.
According to Nevskie Novosti, the court order for Zakharchuk’s arrest accuses him of “inaccurately reporting events in Ukraine.” Nevskie Novosti denies that its reporter did anything illegal.
According to the news agency UNN, police also suspect Zakharchuk of fomenting separatist sentiment in Ukraine and gathering information about the country’s military-industrial complex.
Nevskie Novosti’s chief editor, Vladislav Kraev, told RSN radio station that Zakharchuk was detained when he arrived in Ukraine to visit relatives. He’s visited Ukraine several times recently without encountering any police problems, Kraev says.
“[Zakharchuk] writes about urban life and sports—completely local stuff. He hasn’t been assigned to anything related to the defense industry or the military situation,” Kraev explained.
Nevskie Novosti expresses its indignation at the actions by Ukrainian authorities and demands the immediate release of its journalist. We also call on all our colleagues, regardless of beliefs or political persuasion, to stand up for Andrey Zakharchuk, whose absurd criminal prosecution contravenes not only international but Ukrainian law.
On February 8, the Security Service of Ukraine arrested journalist Ruslan Kotsaba, who spoke out against the country’s new troop mobilization.
On February 9, 19-year-old soldier Sergey Dmitrienko was sentenced to nine years in prison for supposedly collaborating with Russian special forces.