20:51 GMT20 January 2021
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    Ukraine’s expulsion of three foreign correspondents is unjustified and demonstrates the nation’s abysmal record of respect for media freedom, according to a press release from the organization Reporters Without Borders on Thursday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The charges were prompted by the expulsion of three journalists in the past week, including Anna Kurbatova, a reporter for the Russian TV channel Pervy Kanal.

    "Anyone who dares to defame Ukraine will suffer the same fate," State Security Service spokeswoman Olena Gitlyanska said in explaining Kurbatova’s expulsion, according to the release.

    Kurbatova apparently angered Ukrainian authorities with a report on Ukraine’s recent independence-day celebrations, which suggested that Ukraine has been heavily dependent on the West and that the country has been "going downhill" since a 2014 coup, the release said.

    Two Spanish journalists, Antonio Pampliega and Manuel Angel Sastre, were expelled on August 25 after being detained on arrival at Kiev international airport, apparently for reporting that Ukrainian forces had shelled civilian neighborhoods in the nation’s east, the report added.

    "There is no justification for such media freedom violations," the release said.

    The release emphasized that Ukraine ranks 102 out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2017 World Press Freedom Index.


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