Beginning of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s conversation with Head of RIA Novosti Ukraine Kirill Vyshinsky, Moscow, September 9, 2019
Sergey Lavrov: We are very happy to welcome you. We have watched the video. So emotional ... Your words, then Margarita Simonyan, Dmitry Kiselev, your other colleagues. It is probably not right to thank you for appreciating the Foreign Ministry’s contribution, but if you feel that we have helped, then it is important to us.
Kirill Vyshinsky: Mr Lavrov, you not only helped, but you supported me very much. And it’s clear it involved a huge number of people, a huge – machine, yes, that’s the right word – that has been working to get me out of there, and most importantly, to restore justice. Because what happened to me was unfair. I was aware of this, I felt it.
Thank you very much for your birthday greeting. On February 19, when you wished me a happy birthday, and then you said: “Just understand and remember, heroes, we are not leaving you.” That was worth a lot to me and I appreciated that.
My authority in prison instantly soared to heaven. Thanks a lot.
Sergey Lavrov: Mine too!
We care about all our citizens, including those who are in trouble with the law based only on suspicions. We seek justice and fair trials. But in your case, it was obvious that you were a unique character in this entire line of forcibly held persons, because you were not involved, in any way, in any administrative or even less so, criminal offence. You were accused of treason only because you described the situation in various parts of the country where you worked, and nothing more. I would like to emphasise once again what President of Russia Vladimir Putin said, President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia: this is a very positive step and I hope, the beginning of bringing Russian-Ukrainian relations back to normal, so we can stop looking at each other through gunsights – through informational, criminal, or political lenses – and begin to simply interact based on common sense. What we have in common is far greater than the wedges driven between us by radical nationalists, neo-Nazis, and others who are guided by anything but the interests of the Russian and Ukrainian peoples.
Kirill Vyshinsky: I fully agree with you. If I can help in any way, I will be happy to contribute, because I take what is happening as a personal pain.
Most importantly, I have met different people over the past year and none of them used the words “traitor” or “turncoat” about me. I don’t know, maybe they were exceptionally tactful in the places where I was, or they simply didn’t think that way. They believed me and understood that I was a political prisoner. Moreover, the term “political prisoner” is now quite common in Ukraine, in Ukrainian prisons.