July 13, 2019 / 3:35 PM / 4 months ago

Ukraine investigates grenade attack on Kiev TV station

KIEV (Reuters) - Ukrainian authorities said on Saturday they were investigating an attack on a Kiev television station owned by an opposition election candidate, which caused damage but injured no one.

Damage is seen on the facade of the building of Ukrainian 112 TV channel in Kiev, Ukraine July 13, 2019. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

An unknown assailant fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the 112 TV channel building in western Kiev at 0340 a.m. (0040 GMT), police said in a statement, adding the incident was being investigated as “an act of terrorism”.

“Policemen are looking for the attacker...There were no injured,” the statement said.

112 TV aired footage of the damaged front building banner, a broken window and crumbling plaster inside.

Former supporters of pro-Moscow ex-president Viktor Yanukovich, who oppose Ukraine’s integration with the West, often appear as speakers on 112 TV. Yanukovich fled to Russia in 2014 following street protests against his rule.

Taras Kozak, a member of the Russia-friendly Opposition Platform party, owns a 99% stake in the TV station. Kozak is registered as a candidate in Ukraine’s July 21 parliamentary election.

Managers at the TV channel said earlier its journalists had previously received threats via social media from Ukrainian nationalists.

Kozak called the attack a “threat to independent media”, and blamed “inaction” by authorities.

Relations between Ukraine and Russia have been tense since Moscow’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014 and its support for armed separatists in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine, in a conflict that has killed 13,000 people.

The Opposition Platform party, of which one of its leaders Viktor Medvedchuk is a frequent 112 TV guest speaker, accused Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Saturday of encouraging radical nationalists to confront several TV stations, including 112.

Zelenskiy did not immediately respond to the accusations.

His Servant of the People party is the most popular political movement in the country, according to a recent opinion poll. The Opposition Platform was in second place.

Reporting by Natalia Zinets, writing by Maria Tsvetkova

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