MOSCOW, February 4. /TASS/. The decision of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky to sanction opposition TV channels 112 Ukraine, NewsOne and ZIK is a blatant example of political censorship, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said during Thursday’s briefing.
"We consider taking away a significant part of viewership and airplay of three Ukrainian media outlets by decree of the head of state an outrageous example of political censorship and unfair competition. This contradicts Ukrainian laws and Kiev’s international obligations to protect freedom of speech," she stated.
Zakharova stressed that while the Kiev government is shutting down the media, the scandalous Mirotvorets website continues to function. The diplomat reminded that the US embassy in Kiev has expressed support for Zelensky’s decision, expressing her surprise over this fact.
"I would like to remind Washington that these are Russian, not Ukrainian channels," she said. "I would also like to remind you of the statement by [Spokesman for US Department of State] Ned Price, in which he said that the US condemns media censorship everywhere, considering it a thing of dictators, as well as blocking, oppression and other tactics aimed to strangle independent media, including TV. Ned Price and the US State Department and the US embassy in Ukraine are two different structures now or is there anything that ties them to each other? How can statements by American diplomats made in early February contradict each other so much, did something go wrong?"
On Tuesday, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky greenlighted sanctions slapped on three TV channels and their owner, member of Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada (parliament) Taras Kozak. These restrictions will be in effect for five years. These measures envisage annulling or suspending licenses as well as banning the use of Ukrainian TV and radio frequencies. Their assets will be blocked, and their economic and financial liabilities will be frozen. The management will not be allowed to transfer financial assets to foreign countries, engage in transactions with securities and open accounts in foreign banks.