03:46 GMT +320 January 2020
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    Media freedom is the most important value in the European Union, but Ukraine is not even a candidate to join the bloc, German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said Wednesday.

    BERLIN (Sputnik) — On Tuesday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko brought into effect the decision of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine to expand the list of sanctioned Russian individuals and legal entities and to extend the duration of these sanctions. A number of Russia's leading media outlets, IT companies and social networks were targeted by the decision.


    "Freedom of information, press and opinions for us, in Germany, as, of course, for Europe, are among the most important values. But we affirm them also with the partners outside the European Union. It is important. This will also be reflected in all conversations, in all contacts that we carry out," Seibert told reporters answering a question on whether Ukraine's sanctions correspond to EU values which EU membership candidates should share.

    "This is a wrong wording of the question, it [Ukraine] is not a candidate for [EU] membership," the spokesman added, stressing that "media freedom in Europe is one of the most important values."

    The Council of Europe voiced concern over the violation of the the freedom of expression and freedom of the media in Ukraine in relation to Kiev's move. The Russian Foreign Ministry, in turn, said that the new anti-Moscow sanctions imposed by the Ukrainian authorities hardly corresponded to the principles adopted by both Europe and the world, as well as to the basic foundations of civil society.

    The anti-Russia sanctions were initially imposed by Kiev in 2015 over Moscow's alleged meddling in the Ukrainian affairs. Russian authorities repeatedly denied the allegations of both Kiev and its Western partners.


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    media, sanctions, European Union (EU), Steffen Seibert, Ukraine, Russia
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