Ukraine condemns ‘persecution of journalists’ in Belarus… after squashing opposition shops at home

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Kiev has condemned a collection of searches in Belarus concentrating on journalists and rights activists, however the scolding comes amid Ukraine’s personal full-blown crackdown on opposition press and politicians at home – totally supported by the US.

Strongly condemning the current occasions in Belarus “where authorities continue pressure and persecution of journalists,” Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and Culture Minister Oleksandr Tkachenko lashed out at Minsk in an announcement on Sunday.

“The entire democratic world recognizes mass media as the fourth estate and does not interfere with their professional activities. Attacks on freedom of speech, endangering the lives and well-being of journalists in Belarus, constitute outright violations of these basic principles,” the assertion reads.

Earlier this week, Belarusian police carried out a collection of searches throughout the nation. The operation focused people allegedly linked to stirring up the civil unrest that has been plaguing the nation for the reason that contested presidential elections final summer season. Among others, the searches focused a number of journalists and rights activists. Law enforcement stated it seized some $80,000 in money, assorted paperwork linking the suspects to international entities, in addition to medication and even weaponry.

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Ironically, Ukraine’s considerations over press freedom inside the neighboring nation got here amid a large marketing campaign towards opposition press launched by the authorities in Kiev. Early in February, President Volodymyr Zelensky issued a decree that kicked off a collection of “special economic and other restrictive sanctions” concentrating on a complete of eight information organizations. The shops had their property blocked, in addition to being ordered to not move cash overseas.

The bundle compelled three of the affected shops to go offline almost instantly. The 1+1 media group, which owns the shops, belongs to opposition politician Taras Kozak, who has been extremely important of Ukraine’s authorities over alleged corruption, chaotic reforms and sloppy coronavirus response. Kozak can be a member of Opposition Platform–For Life (OPZZh), the most important opposition get together, led by Viktor Medvedchuk. On Friday, Medvedchuk, alongside with six different people and 19 authorized entities, was focused with sanctions by Kiev authorities over alleged “financing of terrorism.”

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Kiev promised the restrictions would have an effect on “all the property that Mr Medvedchuk owns.” The politician, in flip, accused the federal government of taking “the path of establishing a dictatorship and usurping power.” While the character of the terrorism-related allegations was not instantly clear, it probably stems from Medvedchuk’s alleged assist of rebels in japanese Ukraine, the place a civil battle has been ongoing for greater than six years.

Kiev’s offensive towards the opposition politicians and press has obtained full assist from Washington. The US Embassy stated it supported Kiev’s “efforts to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity through sanctions,” stressing that Medvedchuk has been below US sanctions since 2014, over his alleged function in japanese Ukraine.

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