Journalist Tsymbaliuk: I don’t want to become a Kremlin hostage and wait to get swapped

Journalist Tsymbaliuk: I don’t want to become a Kremlin hostage and wait to get swapped

Ukrinform
Roman Tsymbaluk, UNIAN news agency’s own correspondent in Russia, who is also the last remaining Ukrainian journalist accredited there, says he decided to leave the country due to personal safety concerns.

He addressed the issue in an interview with Hromadske.

"I left the Russian Federation because I believe there is a threat to my personal safety. The Russian junta seems to have exposed itself. And now they claim they recalled the summons for my interrogations, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be issued again. Prior to that, there had been many signals that they decided to deal with the last Ukrainian reporter in Moscow very, very seriously," Tsymbaliuk said.

Read also: Roman Tsymbaliuk, journalist

The correspondent added that during the last two months, virtually all top figures of the "Russian information forces" had been publicly voicing predictions that the journalist would soon be facing various problems with the authorities.

Tsymbaliuk stressed that it is still unclear whether there is any case against him whatsoever but he and his lawyer take seriously the interrogation summonses and publications in the Russian pro-government media, as there is a threat of him being declared wanted through Interpol.

"For me, my lawyer reported (for interrogation - ed.), while prosecutors didn’t show up for the meeting for some reason. Someone from another office there told my lawyer that they had withdrawn the summons. Is that so or not? There is very little information at the moment. But I won’t be rushing back to Russia, because I don’t want to become a Kremlin hostage and wait to get swapped. We already have plenty of people there who need to be evacuated,” Tsymbaliuk added.

As it was reported, lawyer Mykola Polozov will be defending Roman Tsymbaliuk, who was summoned to the Moscow Prosecutor's Office under Article 20.3.1 of the Administrative Code (inciting hatred or enmity).

Read also: Ukraine’s only journalist in Russia facing extremism charges - lawyer

“The line between ‘administrative’ violations as regards extremism and ‘criminal’ offenses in the same field is very thin, largely depending on experts, whose contribution to cases where certain political interest on the part of the authorities is present is very predictable. Many experts believe that these articles are vague, blurred, and "flexible," which allows imposing the norm on pretty much any circumstances," Polozov said.

Tsymbalyuk was summoned to the prosecutor's office on December 24, 2021. On the same day, Polozov said that Tsymbaliuk's summons had been recalled.

In an exclusive comment to Ukrinform, Tsymbalyuk confirmed he was being persecuted in the Russian Federation for allegedly "inciting ethnic hatred" against Russians.

As reported, Roman Tsymbaliuk is a Ukrainian journalist, UNIAN's own correspondent in Russia. He is the only Ukrainian journalist accredited in Russia. Tsymbaliuk maintains a tough pro-Ukrainian stance, traditionally asking Russian politicians, including President Vladimir Putin, scathing questions and voicing bold statements in support of Ukraine on popular Russian TV panel shows.

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