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Diplomat slams Ukraine’s UNIAN as ‘fake news’ that panders to Poroshenko’s crackdown

November 30, 2018, 18:14 UTC+3 MOSCOW

A Russian diplomat says Ukrainian news agency UNIAN spreads fake news to justify the introduction of martial law by President Pyotr Poroshenko

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Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova

© Alexander Shcherbak/TASS

MOSCOW, November 30. /TASS/. Ukrainian news agency UNIAN spreads fake news to justify the introduction of martial law by President Pyotr Poroshenko, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a briefing on Friday.

The diplomat pointed to a fake news story supporting the actions of the Ukrainian Security Service, written by one of the agency’s reporters. "The Russian Foreign Ministry officially declares the possibility of occupying the Ukrainian regions, where Russia’s diplomatic institutions are based," she cited the headline of the story on her Facebook page. "This is a lie from UNIAN, it’s not the first nor is it the last. The UNIAN news agency carries water for the martial law regime that has been imposed in Ukraine".

The Ukrainian news agency seeks to use the report about Moscow’s "long-awaited aggression" to justify the introduction of martial law. "There is no aggression, and won’t be any, even though you really want it. Apparently, you will get a salary raise since you will be the first "war correspondent behind enemy lines," said Zakharova mocking the agency. "Unfortunately, Ukraine’s collapse holds a frightening prospect for the aftermath of Poroshenko’s policy regime".

"Will send this piece to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) as an example of fake (news) and a manipulation of public opinion," the diplomat stressed.

Martial law in Ukraine

The Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine’s parliament) convened a special meeting on November 26 with 276 lawmakers having voted in favor of martial law, surpassing the required minimum of 226 votes.

Kiev’s move to impose martial law across the Vinnytsia, Lugansk, Nikolayev, Odessa, Sumy, Kharkov, Chernigov, Donetsk, Zaporozhye, and Kherson Regions along with the country’s territorial waters in the Azov-Kerch water zone followed the Kerch Strait incident.

The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) reported on November 25 that the Ukrainian warships, the Berdyansk, the Nikopol and the Yany Kapu had breached the Russian state border on Sunday morning and later attempted to carry out illegal maneuvers in Russia’s territorial waters later. The Ukrainian vessels ignored the legitimate demands of the Coast Guard of the FSB Border Service and the Black Sea Fleet to stop immediately and end their dangerous action. The Ukrainian warships carried on, blatantly disregarding these orders, triggered a chase involving some gunfire to stop them. Consequently, the ships were detained in Russian territorial waters.

Moscow branded Kiev's stunt in the Kerch Strait a dangerous provocation, while the European Union and NATO called for a de-escalation of tensions.

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