Rossiya Segodnya filed a motion with the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board to verify the grounds for the application of sanctions against the agency and to review a decision that could result in the criminal prosecution of Sputnik Estonia employees, Elena Cherysheva, an agency representative in Estonia said.
“With regard to Rossiya Segodnya, this means that in order to apply sanctions against Rossiya Segodnya, it must be proven that the funds of Rossiya Segodnya are controlled by Dmitry Kiselyov as an authorized person or are in his possession. The fact is that the funds and resources that belong to the Russian unitary enterprise do not belong to Dmitry Kiselev," the document states, with the clarification that all the property, income and profits of the agency are federal property.
The application notes that Rossiya Segodnya is not included in the EU sanctions list, although the agency’s director general Dmitry Kiselev is listed in it. Moreover, even in Estonian law, it is said that sanctions can be applied only to those legal entities and individuals that are directly mentioned in the list.
On 18 December the Rossiya Segodnya news agency said that employees of Sputnik Estonia had received letters from the Baltic country’s Police and Border Guard Board that warned they would face criminal prosecution unless they severed their ties with the Moscow-based parent news agency by 1 January.
The Estonian authorities cited the 2014 EU sanctions as a pretext for potential legal action. Rossiya Segodnya has insisted that it is not mentioned on any EU sanctions lists.