BERLIN (Sputnik) – Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko extended sanctions on over 400 individuals and 90 entities late Wednesday, saying the move would contribute to his country’s defense amid a military conflict in the southeast of the country.
The expanded blacklist includes journalists and political figures from Russia, Britain, Spain, Israel and other countries.
"If the Ukrainian government’s actions are true, then they are an attack on media freedom [and] the freedom of journalists, which is not the norm," Hendrik Zoerner told RIA Novosti.
"Sanctions cannot be applied to journalists. Journalists have the right to work freely, independently and critically both in Ukraine and Russia. They should not be limited in this respect, no matter from which side," Zoerner stated.
The updated blacklist includes German journalist, author, documentarian and former chief editor of the Rheinischer Merkur weekly, Michael Rutz, as well as correspondent Steve Rosenberg and producer Emma Wells, both affiliated with the BBC.
Both BBC and the Committee to Protect Journalists called on Poroshenko to remove "personal, special, economic" and other restrictive measures on the press.
The restrictions come amid an ongoing conflict in Ukraine’s southeast, where the self-proclaimed people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk (DPR and LPR) have been striving for autonomy from Kiev.