Moscow slams Kiev for ‘information war’ over 100+ Russian media ban list

Residents of the Petrovsky District in Donetsk (RIA Novosti /  Mikhail Voskresenskiy)
Kiev's stripping more than 100 Russian media outlets of accreditation at Ukraine's bodies of state power is “openly discriminatory.” It calls into question their interest in a peace settlement, said Russia’s Foreign Ministry and other top official.

On Saturday, the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) issued recommendations to strip more than 100 Russian media outlets of accreditation. The list includes TASS, Rossiya Segodnya and all Russian TV channels except Dozhd, according to the service's spokesperson Yelena Gitlyanskaya. The outlets will be without accreditation until the end of the Ukrainian conflict.

"The openly discriminatory decision by Ukraine's parliament to strip Russian mass media of accreditation at the bodies of state power is an extension of the policy to clear the country's media space of alternative points of view," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

It added this decision comes as a “backdrop to the latest resolutions by the Normandy Quartet's leaders” (the Minsk peace agreement) and “calls in question Kiev's interest in a peace settlement."

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Russia’s presidential spokesman Dmytry Peskov said on Saturday the Kremlin will talk to Kiev, pointing out the “inadmissibility of such steps.” He also told TASS Moscow won’t respond to Kiev’s actions by limiting the work of Ukrainian media as “Russia is a country where media activity is regulated by law, and where Russian and foreign journalists have equal rights to obtain information.”

Kiev is continuing its fight against everything Russian, but this limitation won’t prevent Russian journalists from “continuing to objectively cover” the Ukrainian conflict, said head of Russia’s Lower House of Parliament Committee for relations with the CIS bloc, Leonid Slutsky, on Saturday.

Last April, Ukrainian authorities imposed severe restrictions on Russian men, aged between 16 and 60, when attempting to enter Ukraine without their families. The men are only allowed in if they have close relatives, or an official invitation.

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Kiev’s ban on Russian journalists and mass media in Ukraine “is nothing but a systematic policy by the Ukrainian authorities abusing Ukraine's responsibilities in the spheres of human rights, the freedom of speech, and the freedom of mass media and access to information," said Konstantin Dolgov earlier. The Russian human right’s commissioner called the decision an “act of information war.” He asked the international community, particularly the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE), to react appropriately to the issue,

Earlier in February, 239 Ukrainian lawmakers voted in favor of suspending Russian journalists' accreditation until the conflict in eastern Ukraine ends.