14:56 GMT06 March 2021
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    TALLINN (Sputnik) - Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu promised on Sunday to cooperate with the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to settle the situation over the Rossiya Segodnya International News Agency's Sputnik Estonia and denied that the authorities pressured the agency's employees.

    "Representatives of Estonia will give comprehensive explanations to the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media," the minister said, as quoted by Delfi online news portal.

    The minister also added that Estonia applied EU sanctions against the agency's property, and they did not concern the content of its activity.

    On Saturday, Harlem Desir, the media watchdog with Europe's largest security group OSCE, said he had written to the Estonian government asking it not to prevent the agency’s journalists from doing their job.

    On Wednesday, the agency said that employees of Sputnik Estonia had received threats from the Baltic country’s Police and Border Guard Board warning that they would face criminal prosecution unless they stopped working for the outlet by January 1. The Estonian authorities cited sanctions imposed by the European Union in 2014 that were linked to the Ukrainian crisis as a pretext for possible legal action. Sputnik and RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan has already asked Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid to prevent the journalists from being arrested.

    Following the incident, during his annual end-of-year press conference on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin assured that Russia would do everything to support the media outlet's work abroad. He also added that it was important to continue to work in those countries that are afraid of the outlet's "influence on the minds of people."

    Earlier on Sunday, Rossiya Segodnya's head, Dmitry Kiselev, said that sanctions against Sputnik Estonia set a dangerous precedent that could trigger a chain reaction across Europe.

    OSCE, Sputnik, Russia, Estonia
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