MOSCOW, May 19 (RIA Novosti) – Ukraine has expelled a Rossiya TV news team covering events in the country following threats by police to launch a criminal probe against them, the All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (VGTRK) said Monday.
“A news team of Rossiya TV channel has been withdrawn from Ukraine. They will be in Moscow already this evening,” a VGTRK spokesperson said, adding that other reporters with the TV channel continue to work in the country.
One of the expelled team members, special correspondent Ksenya Kibkalo, told the Rossiya 24 channel that she was taken to a police department in Uzhhorod, western Ukraine, where she was interrogated on the purposes of her visit.
The journalist was told that she was suspected of “inciting ethnic hatred, promoting separatism and destabilization of the situation in Ukraine” and asked to leave the country by May 19.
The team received their cameras back but some of the material had disappeared.
Over the last two months, reporters of Russia’s leading channels have been kidnapped, beaten, threatened and denied access to Ukraine. Broadcasting of Russian media has also been banned across the country.
Moscow has repeatedly called on the international community to condemn Ukraine’s violations of media freedom and violence against journalists in the country.