KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine has expelled a Russian journalist working for the television channel NTV as punishment for spreading anti-Ukrainian propaganda and justifying the actions of separatists, the state security service (SBU) said on Thursday.
Relations between Kiev and Moscow have been poisoned since Moscow annexed Crimean from Ukraine in 2014 and backed a separatist insurgency in Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region that has killed more than 10,000 people despite a notional ceasefire.
Ukraine says Russia is fighting a “hybrid war” with Kiev, spreading propaganda while supporting the separatists with troops and sophisticated weaponry and launching cyber attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure, which Moscow denies.
Vyacheslav Nemyshev was expelled in the early hours of Thursday for preparing “a series of false anti-Ukrainian materials,” the SBU state security service said. “The propagandist is forbidden from entering Ukraine for three years.”
NTV said on its website the incident “confirmed that it was practically impossible for Russian journalists to work in Ukraine today.”
“I was at the police station for five hours, first the police took testimony from me, then the SBU officers,” NTV quoting Nemyshev as saying.
“After that we drove around Kiev for a really long time, then we stopped at some street where I sat in a car in the dark. After that, they told me that everything had been decided, and we went to the border.”
Ukraine in August detained and then deported another Russian journalist for spreading anti-Ukrainian propaganda, a move condemned both by Russia and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, which monitors the Donbass war.
The security service had also barred two Spanish journalists for their negative coverage of the conflict.
Additional reporting by Dmitry Solovyov in Moscow; Editing by Richard Balmforth