'Despite the condemnation by international organizations of a blatant infringement on press freedoms, the US has defended Kiev's raid on the office of RIA Novosti news agency as a legitimate fight against "Russian propaganda."
Ukraine's Security Service (SBU) raided RIA Novosti Ukraine headquarters on Tuesday and detained the head of the web portal, Kirill Vyshinsky. The crackdown was condemned by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). Washington, however, embraced it, invoking the traditional Russophobic mantra of fighting Kremlin’s “propaganda.”
"We understand that Ukraine, like a lot of other countries, has been concerned about intense propaganda," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told journalists on Tuesday. "Goodness, when we talk with a lot of our allies and partners overseas, they certainly have fallen victim and understand the influence and the reach of Russian propaganda. So we do understand Ukraine's concerns about that."
“The arrests of journalists or searches taken of media outlets, if that is done, it has to be done in accordance with the law. It is something that includes international human rights law,” Nauert added.
As a justification for the raid, Ukraine's Prosecutor-General Yuriy Lutsenko called the editorial policy of RIA Ukraine and Vyshinsky in particular “anti-Ukrainian” in nature, amounting to “state treason.” In a Facebook post, he accused the news agency of being the "descendants of Goebbels" that are engaged in "disinformation war." Vyshinsky, who holds both Ukrainian and Russian passports, is being accused of visiting the Crimean peninsula and receiving an award from President Putin.
However, OSCE and CPJ disagreed with the narrative from Kiev and the State Department, calling on Ukrainian authorities to stop their witch hunt against Russian journalists.'
Read more: US endorses Kiev's raid on Russian news agency amid international condemnation
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