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​Kiev deports Russian journalist over ‘anti-Ukrainian activities’

The State Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has deported the Russian journalist Aleksandra Cherepnina back to Moscow from Kiev. The correspondent for Russian state broadcaster Channel One was accused of “anti-Ukrainian activities.”

Cherepnina claims that she was manhandled by a pair of officers, taken to a security office, interrogated and accused of producing propaganda.

“I asked them to give me a chance to call my office. I took out my phone but they grabbed my arm, both of them held me by the arm. They told me to hand my phone over willingly, I was clearly overpowered. They didn’t let me use it until I was already on the plane to Moscow,” she told reporters upon arrival at Moscow’s Vnukovo airport.

“Twenty minutes ago, she called us onboard a plane bound for Moscow, on which she had been forcibly deported onto by SBU personnel,” the general director of Channel One, Kirill Kleymenov, told the TASS news agency.

The Russian embassy in Kiev told TASS that Cherepnina, who had been in Ukraine since the middle of June, had been deported from the country, following a decision made by Ukrainian government.

The SBU’s press service told RIA Novosti that Cherepnina had been banned for entering Ukraine for the next three years.

“It was found out that she tried to film a report, which would discredit the Ukrainian government,” said Elena Gitlyanskaya, the SBU’s press secretary.

Kleymenov said that on Wednesday morning, Cherepnina had been busy getting ready for another report, but she did not contact the office at midday, as had been expected.

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“After a while, we tried to call her using various telephone numbers, but her telephone was not answering. Knowing of her punctuality and attention to detail, we started to get worried and sent her cameraman to her flat,” the general director of the channel added.

Upon entering the flat, the cameraman noticed that someone had left in a hurry. Her clothes were not in the flat, however, and there were coat hangers littered around.

“Now it is all clear that she had to leave the country unexpectedly. She said that SBU personnel had told her the reason was allegedly falsifying a report about a little girl who threatened “to slaughter Russians,” which appeared on Channel 1 on June 24,” said Kleymenov.

On March 15, Markiyan Lubkivskiy, an adviser to the head of the SBU, said that the agency had expelled or banned from entering Ukraine more than 100 Russian journalists.

Aleksandr Lukashevich, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman, said that these developments by the SBU were worrying and were clearly in breach of international regulations.