Ukraine authorities search Russian news agency, detain director

A spokeswoman for the SBU, Elena Gitlyanskaya confirmed that the SBU conducted searches at the Kiev office of Russian news agency RIA Novosti today.

"Law enforcers have determined that they were used by the aggressor country in the context of a hybrid information war against Ukraine".

Ukraine's actions against RIA Novosti-Ukraine and Vyshynsky come amid tensions between Kiev and Moscow over Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea and its support of an armed separatist movement in eastern Ukraine that has claimed over 10,300 lives, according to the United Nations.

"Today we can say that he received 53,000 euros a month for such activities", SBU deputy chief Viktor Kononenko said. "The money is subsequently distributed to the groups and people involved".

"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. "We also call on Ukrainian authorities to stop harassing and obstructing Russian media operating in Ukraine".

He warned that Moscow could take measures in response, saying the Kremlin "will vigorously defend the interests of Russian media to the fullest extent".

"Kiev made a decision to take revenge on us for the Crimean bridge", she said on her Twitter feed.

RIA Novosti stated on Tuesday that Ukrainian intelligence officers stormed its workplace in Kiev and that it has been unable to get in contact with its correspondents there since.

The law enforcement actions on May 15 drew a swift and angry response from Russian Federation, with President Vladimir Putin's spokesman saying journalist Kirill Vyshinky's detention was "disgraceful and scandalous" if it was related to his work.

Kiev authorities regularly accuse Russia of using its public media, including television stations which are very popular in Russian-speaking regions of Ukraine, to encourage separatist sentiment and undermining confidence in the current pro-European government.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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