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Russia kills over 20 journalists, destroys over 100 regional media in Ukraine since beginning of full-scale invasion – MFA

KYIV. May 3 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Since 2014, by starting a war against Ukraine, Russia has been destroying freedom of speech in the temporarily occupied territories, effectively turning them into an "information ghetto," the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry says.

"The invasion of Russian troops into the territory of Ukraine on February 24 marked a new stage of brutal repression against independent journalism in Ukraine. In two months, Russian invaders killed more than twenty Ukrainian and foreign journalists. More than a hundred regional media in the temporarily occupied territories were forced to stop working due to threats, the destruction of editorial offices, the inability to work under conditions of temporary occupation," the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on World Press Freedom Day.

The ministry recalled that a recent victim of Russian armed aggression was Radio Liberty journalist Vira Hyrych, who died in a residential building in the center of Kyiv as a result of a rocket attack.

"Russia committed this crime during a visit to Ukraine by UN Secretary General António Guterres, which showed its true attitude towards international institutions and the basic principles of international law," the Foreign Ministry said.

Along with military aggression, Russia is waging an information war, the ministry said. The list of Russian crimes against the media in Ukraine includes the murders and abductions of journalists, shelling and seizure of television towers, hacker attacks on information resource sites.

Ukrainian cities occupied or surrounded by Russia are isolated from Ukrainian information space, Ukrainian broadcasting and the work of national Internet operators are blocked there.

In the occupied territories, Russia launches the broadcast of its propaganda channels, which are used for even greater information expansion, justifying the Russian invasion and inciting ethnic hatred.

"Ukraine, together with international partners, is coordinating efforts to combat Russian propaganda and disinformation. We are grateful to those countries that have stopped broadcasting Russian propaganda resources on their territories. We call on the international community to expand sanctions against Russian media that disseminate propaganda and disinformation. The media of the aggressor state should be cut off from the possibility of distorting the facts of Russia’s war against Ukraine," the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said.

The ministry also thanked Ukrainian and international journalists who, in difficult conditions, often risking their own lives, work in war zones to bring the truth about Russian war crimes in Ukraine.