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Ukraine’s draft law on denying Russian aggression in Donbas self-incriminating — diplomat

By punishing those doubting "the Russian aggression", refusing to accredit Russian journalists, banning Russian movies Ukraine implements political censure, Russia’s Ambassador to the OSCE believes

MOSCOW, February 13. /TASS/. The mechanisms of political censure are being implemented in Ukraine, Russia’s Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Andrey Kelin said on Friday.

The new draft law that allows sending to prison all those who doubt the "Russian aggression" in Donbas is an example of this, Kelin added.

The diplomat has listed the recent decisions made by the Kiev authorities that aim to limit the expression of critical statements of Kiev’s actions. "A law was adopted on establishing ‘the general criteria for audio and video materials that threaten Ukraine’s national security’," Kelin said. "On the basis of this law, Russian films are banned from being broadcast [in Ukraine]. Also in line is the complete refusal to accredit Russian journalists in Ukraine," he added.

Kelin touched upon the issue of restrictions that Ukrainian journalists face. "Journalist Ruslan Kotsaba was arrested and accused of treason for his statements on mobilization. It turns out that now every journalist or public figure can be accused of treason for expressing opinions that contradict the official position of the authorities. Where is the reaction of media freedom representatives?" he wondered.

"The latest ‘stunt’ is a draft law that allows sending to prison all those who doubt the ‘Russian aggression’ in Donbas. ‘Deniers’ will face up to three years in jail. This move by the ‘party of war’ is self-incriminating in its essence," Kelin stressed.

On February 11, Amnesty International declared Ruslan Kotsaba, a Ukrainian journalist arrested by Ukraine’s security services, a prisoner of conscience, the organization said on Wednesday.

"There are different attitudes to Ruslan Kotsaba’s position. However, by arresting him for expressing his civil position, the Ukrainian authorities have violated the fundamental human right to freedom of expression, which Ukrainians defended on the Maidan," director of Amnesty International in Ukraine Tetiana Mazur said.

Amnesty International said it considers Kotsaba to be a prisoner of conscience and calls on the Ukrainian authorities to free him immediately and without preconditions.

Kotsaba was detained on February 7 after he posted a video where he expresses his negative attitude to the mobilization campaign announced in Ukraine. The journalist was accused of treason and obstructing the military.