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15 May, 2018 12:24

‘Outrageous, blatant’: Kremlin awaits harsh intl response on Ukraine’s raid on Russian news agency

‘Outrageous, blatant’: Kremlin awaits harsh intl response on Ukraine’s raid on Russian news agency

The Kremlin said a raid conducted by Ukraine on the Kiev office of Russian news agency RIA Novosti is “outrageous and blatant”, adding that Moscow awaits “harsh and uncompromising” response from international groups.

On Tuesday morning RIA Novosti reported that its office was targeted by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU). Hours earlier, Kirill Vyshynsky, who heads the Ukrainian bureau of the agency, was detained near his home in Kiev. 

“If these actions of the Ukrainian law enforcement agencies are somehow related to the work of these media, they are absolutely outrageous and blatant [and] violate all norms and rules,” Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday.

Such actions should be condemned by international organizations, Peskov continued. "We will be looking forward to [their] harsh and uncompromising response," he stressed.

Russia will adopt “reciprocal measures” in response to the incident, but more details on the case are needed, Peskov said. “So far we only know that they [Ukrainian authorities] used force against the Russian media [and] deployed measures to restrict the freedom of our journalists…” the spokesman added.

According to SBU spokesperson Elena Gitlyanskaya, the arrest and raid are part of an investigation into “a network of media structures used by Moscow to wage a hybrid war” against Ukraine. SBU later released a statement, saying that it will reveal the details of the incident at the briefing scheduled later on Tuesday.

Moscow will demand access to the detained RIA Novosti journalists who are Russian citizens, acting Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, adding that Russia is working to clarify the situation.

Lavrov noted that both the US and the European members of the OSCE “are simply obliged to finally comment on the issue without any double standards.”“We are waiting for some statements by the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media [Harlem] Desir,” Lavrov added.

Kiev has a long record of regularly expelling Russian journalists from the country or refusing access to government buildings and events. This May the SBU refused entry to three journalists from Russia, Italy, and the Czech Republic who were traveling to Ukraine to cover the anniversary of the 2014 tragedy in the city of Odessa.

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