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Crimean authorities deny complicity in search raid on local TV channel

“A channel’s representative has suddenly blamed the Crimean authorities for standing behind the search raid," Dmitry Polonsky, Crimea’s vice-premier, said

SIMFEROPOL, Crimea, January 26 /TASS/. The Crimean authorities have got nothing to do with the recent search raid on ATP, a Crimean Tatar television channel, Dmitry Polonsky, Crimea’s vice-premier and minister of internal policy, information and communications, said, adding that all accusations on that score were absolutely groundless.

“A channel’s representative in capacity of the channel’s deputy general director has suddenly blamed the Crimean authorities for standing behind the search raid. If law enforcers have any grounds or evidence that the law has been violated, the authorities were unlikely to initiate those breaches,” Polonsky said.

Interior Ministry units blocked the approach to a building where ATP’s editorial office is located early on Monday. According to the CrimeaInform news agency, the search raid was carried out as part of investigation into the negligent homicide of two men during a rally outside Crimea’s Verkhovna Rada in February 2014 when Crimea was still part of Ukraine.

The Russian Investigative Committee branch in Crimea is in charge of the investigation. Vladimir Markin, a spokesperson for the Russian Investigative Committee, told TASS that two local civilians had died in clashes outside the parliament building in February 2014.

“Investigators have information that the ATP channel has video materials of the incidents in question,” Markin explained.

Crimea reunited with Russia after the March 16 referendum in which 96% of Crimean residents voted for reunification with their historical homeland.