New York, August 30, 2017– Russian journalist Anna Kurbatova was today grabbed on the street in the center of Kiev by unknown people and later deported, according to her employer Russian state television’s Channel One. Ukraine’s security service (SBU) said authorities have banned the journalist from entering Ukraine for three years.
In a pair of Facebook posts, SBU spokesperson Olena Gitlyanska said Kurbatova was deported for defaming Ukraine and working as a propagandist. “This is what will happen to everyone who dares to disgrace Ukraine,” the spokesperson wrote.
“We call on Ukrainian authorities to allow Anna Kurbatova and other Russian journalists to work without fear of abduction, deportation, and other means of reprisal,” CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said. “Ukraine is in an information war with Russia, but singling out reporters for retaliation is not the means to win it. Kiev should fully embrace press freedom as a sign of its commitment to building a strong democracy.”
Kurbatova’s deportation comes days after the SBU barred two Spanish freelance journalists from entering Ukraine for three years over reporting that allegedly contradicted Ukraine’s national interest.
Channel One said Kurbatova was preparing a report on the persecution of journalists in Ukraine at the time of her detention. Most recently, the reporter had covered Ukraine’s Independence Day military parade on August 24.