02:25 GMT +316 July 2018
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    Sputnik Latvia's Editor-In-Chief Detained For 12 Hours By Police in Riga

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    The Latvian National Council on electronic media previously opposed the use of Sputnik's materials in state-financed news outlets, claiming that the "spending of Latvian taxpayers' money to strengthen Sputnik and popularize its brand is not in the interests of Latvian society."

    According to Sputnik Latvia Editor-In-Chief Valentins Rozencovs, he was detained on Wednesday in Riga and 12 hours later released by the police.

    "Yesterday, at 22:40 [19:40 GMT] I was detained in Riga for a conversation, as they [the police] called it, upon my arrival from Moscow. They did not file any reports. The security police were interested in my work as senior editor of Sputnik Latvia and the work of the outlet itself in Latvia. I spent all night at the security police headquarters. I was released this morning, in less than 12 hours. This is not considered a formal detention in Latvia," Rozencovs, who is a Latvian citizen, said.

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    Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova, when addressing the issue, stated it was a part of Latvian policies, aimed against Russian media in the country.

    Sputnik's Press Service has also commented on Valentins Rozencovs' detention, stressing that such situations have become a routine thing in these nations, who are dismayed by the increasing popularity of the agency.

    "Unfortunately, pressure on our journalists has become routine in the Baltic countries. Democratic European states are concerned about the growing popularity of Sputnik websites in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, representing a point of view which is different from what they consider the only right one," the press release read.

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    Earlier this year, Sputnik and other news outlets were forced to register as "foreign agents" under the US Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). The move followed a campaign in the US media, which accused the Russian journalists of influencing the Americans and participating in the so-called "Russian meddling" in the 2016 US presidential elections.

    Moscow has repeatedly denied these accusations as baseless, stressing that no evidence has been provided to substantiate these claims.

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