Espreso. Global

Who and why eavesdrops on the journalist of Radio Freedom and Espreso Vitaliy Portnikov

13 August, 2022 Saturday

We met Vitaly Portnikov in Lviv in 1988. He then worked for "Molodi Ukrainy", which was the largest Ukrainian-language newspaper, and I - for Lviv Radio. Since then we have been friends. We often have similar ethical and value assessments of events. Politically, we are close in views, but I am involved in the party, and Vitaliy is not. Therefore, our positions are similar, but not identical

When a listening device was found in Vitaly's apartment, it caused quite a bit of indignation in me.

Who could do it and why? Russians? Obviously. Portnikov has been annoying them for a long time, he is on the sanctions lists. Venediktov, the editor-in-chief of Echo Moscow radio, publicly stated that the reason for the closure of this largest political station in Russia after the beginning of the invasion was an interview with Portnikov.

Why is this for the Russians? Portnikov is a publicist. He is not allowed to secrets and secrets, so you will not hear anything new except the details of his personal life on the recorder from under his couch. How can it be used? Or to compromise a person, or to study his way of life for the preparation of an assassination attempt or kidnapping.

Why prepare an assassination attempt? To eliminate an opinion leader, to intimidate others who criticize Russian Nazism, to cause destabilization in society. Why prepare a kidnapping? For demonstrative conviction in Russia.

But there is one but, as they say. The device found by Vitaly, although wrapped in insulation in the photo, is easy to recognize and find on the Internet. This is a Ukrainian-made dictaphone. It records up to 300 hours of conversations and turns on by voice. A battery of increased capacity is connected to it. The recorder is not cheap. It costs about 16 thousand hryvnias. The data recorded on it are recognized by Ukrainian experts and courts. The device was active. So, I stayed at Vitaliy's apartment for no more than a month.

The fact that it was recorded with this device raises a number of suspicions. Such devices are used by Ukrainian special services. There was a number on the device. Such numbers are used by special services in order not to confuse the devices after their extraction for information processing.

I trust Vitaliy and I know that there are no grounds for our services to suspect Vitaliy of illegal actions. None, except artificially invented! None that would give the legal right to eavesdrop on him !!!

This means that someone in the Ukrainian special services could have a desire to compromise Vitaly, to prepare an assassination attempt on him, because his assessments of events do not suit the authorities.

If the recorder belongs to the Ukrainian state bodies, then its installation should have been authorized by the court, and the device itself should be registered in the technical department of the relevant special service.

Lviv SBU opened criminal proceedings. I am convinced that the Lviv units of the services have nothing to do with the crime against Vitaly, but they can put pressure on them to slow down the investigation, if employees of the power structures from Kyiv are involved in the wiretapping.

I do not rule out that there may be Russian agents in the Ukrainian services or political leadership.

Someone gave commands that did not allow the Ukrainian army to defend the north and south in time. The same people, if they are involved in our services, could give a command to listen to a journalist. Even to compromise our intelligence officers and to drive Zelensky into a corner.

One way or another, the one who did it should be publicly punished.

Vitaly is the host of Espresso. This is an independent channel, which the authorities illegally switched off from the terrestrial broadcasting networks, and now the pressure of the unknown on the leading journalist of the channel has begun.

Portnikov has also been cooperating with Radio Liberty-Free Europe for many years. This is American radio, funded by American taxpayers. I know that for the USA freedom of speech and the rule of law are important values   and protected by law. Vitaly is a citizen of Ukraine, but works as a Ukrainian and American journalist. The crime against him violates both Ukrainian and American law.

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