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Russian TV company asks Ukrainian Prosecutor General to bring MP to justice

June 09, 2014, 17:45 UTC+3 MOSCOW

VGTRK reporter Alexander Balitsky says MP Lyashko’s actions included all indications of an offense: obstruction of a lawful activity of a journalist, insult and slander

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Oleh Lyashko (left)

Oleh Lyashko (left)

© ITAR-TASS/Zurab Dzhavakhadze

MOSCOW, June 09. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s state broadcasting corporation VGTRK and its reporter Alexander Balitsky filed a petition with Ukraine’s acting Prosecutor General Oleh Makhnitsky, asking him to bring to responsibility Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada lawmaker Oleh Lyashko, the VGTRK press service said on Monday.

“I hereby request all the possible steps to bring MP Lyashko to responsibility,” Balitsky’s letter reads. “MP Lyashko obstructed my journalistic activity in a very rude manner, spreading simultaneously abusive, completely untrue insinuation discrediting me as a journalist.”

“I believe MP Lyashko’s actions included all indications of an offense: obstruction of a lawful activity of a journalist, insult and slander,” the journalist said.

The VGTRK applied to Makhnitsky with the same request.

“The VGTRK Federal State Corporation requests all necessary and relevant measures on your part to institute a criminal case against lawmaker Oleh Lyashko on charges of obstruction to lawful activity of a journalist, as well as insult and slander which he committed in the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada on June 6, 2014,” the TV company’s statement says.

“As it can be heard and seen in audio and visual materials, on June 6, 2014 the deputy of the Verkhovna Rada, Oleh Lyashko, committed illegal acts, including insult, against Alexander Balitsky, chief of the VGTRK office in Ukraine and a professional journalist,” the company says. “In our firm opinion, these actions by Lyashko are incompatible with his status as a member of parliament.”

The statement points to the fact that both Balitsky in the Verkhovna Rada and the VGTRK office in Ukraine worked “in full compliance with a legitimate right of location - that is in Ukraine.”

Video footages were attached to the letters showing how Lyashko attacked the Russian reporter and pushed him out of the Ukraine’s parliament.

The Association of European Journalists has already condemned his actions.

On Friday, June 6, Lyashko demanded an ID and Rada accreditation from the reporter Alexander Balitsky, saying, “You are deprived of the accreditation!” and crushed the accreditation card. Then, he demanded that the cameraman and the Russian reporters leave the building and accused them of spying.

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