KYIV - A Kyiv court has ruled that Russian journalist Kirill Vyshinsky, who is in detention in Ukraine on high treason charges, can be released on his own recognizance as he awaits trial.
The Kyiv Court of Appeal handed down the ruling Wednesday, saying he must inform the court about any change of residence and that he must refrain from any contact with witnesses in his case.
He will not be required to wear an electronic bracelet, it added.
Vyshinsky, the head of Russia's state-run RIA Novosti's office in Ukraine, was arrested in May 2018 and faces up to 15 years in prison if found guilty.
His arrest came amid accusations in Kyiv that RIA Novosti Ukraine was participating in a "hybrid information war" waged by Russia against Ukraine.
Vyshinsky, who at the moment of his arrest had dual Russian-Ukrainian citizenship, was accused of allegedly receiving financial support from Russia via other media companies registered in Ukraine in order to disguise links between RIA Novosti Ukraine and Russian state media giant Rossia Segodnya.
Weeks after his arrest, Vyshinsky announced that he had given up his Ukrainian citizenship, called his arrest a "political order," and suggested that he was arrested in order to use him in a swap with Moscow for a Ukrainian being held in Russia.
Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, said in a statement to the Govorit Moskva radio station that Vyshinsky's release is "the first step towards justice for the journalist."
Russian ombudswoman Tatyana Moskalkova told reporters in Moscow that she considers the court's ruling "a just decision without political grounds."
"It gives hope to further objective investigation of the case against the journalist," Moskalkova said.
Tensions between Moscow and Kyiv have risen sharply since Russia seized Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in 2014 and threw its support behind separatists in eastern Ukraine, helping start a war that has killed some 13,000 people.
Ukraine's pro-Western government is wary of Russian media outlets, accusing Moscow of distributing disinformation aimed at sowing tension and destabilizing the country. Kyiv has banned more than a dozen Russian television channels since 2014, accusing them of spreading propaganda.