Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta suspends operations after warning | Russo-Ukrainian War

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The investigative newspaper said it was suspending its activities until the end of Russia’s “special operation” in Ukraine.

Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, whose editor Dmitry Muratov was co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize last year, said it was suspending online and print operations until the end of “the special operation” of Russia in Ukraine.

The investigative newspaper, which has already removed information from its website about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to comply with a new media law, said it received another warning from the communications regulator of Ukraine on Monday. Roskomnadzor state regarding its reporting, prompting it to suspend its operations.

“We suspend publication of the newspaper on our website, social networks and in print until the end of the “special operation on the territory of Ukraine”, “writes the newspaper on its website.

In a separate message to readers, Muratov and his reporters said the decision to stop their activities was difficult but necessary.

“There is no other choice,” the note reads. “For us, and I know, for you, this is a terrible and difficult decision.”

In comments published by Russian news agencies, Roskomnadzor said it issued a second warning to Novaya Gazeta for failing to correctly identify an organization deemed a “foreign agent” by authorities in its publications.

Pressure against Russia’s liberal media has intensified since Moscow sent troops to Ukraine last month, with most mainstream media and state-controlled organizations sticking closely to the language used by the Kremlin to describe the conflict.

Novaya Gazeta’s announcement follows the closure this month of radio station Ekho Moskvy, which was one of the few remaining liberal voices in Russian media. Authorities also blocked the websites of several media outlets, including the BBC, Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

On Monday, the Justice Ministry added Germany’s Deutsche Welle to a list of media organizations it called foreign agents.

Novaya Gazeta readers and anti-Kremlin activists have expressed regret that the newspaper can no longer function in the current Russian media environment.

“I would really like Roskomnadzor to be the one to stop his work,” the team of imprisoned political activist Andrei Pivovarov wrote on Twitter.

Created after the breakup of the Soviet Union, Novaya Gazeta has for years faced intimidation and attacks on its journalists during their investigations into rights abuses and corruption.

Muratov said after being named a co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize last October that he dedicated it to the memory of six of his newspaper’s journalists who were murdered for their work.

The media warning came shortly after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow was preparing to restrict the entry into Russia of nationals of countries deemed “unfriendly” by the Kremlin.

These include the United States, the United Kingdom and the 27 member states of the European Union.

“A draft presidential decree is being drafted on retaliatory visa measures in response to ‘hostile’ actions by a number of foreign states,” Lavrov said in televised remarks earlier Monday. “This law will introduce a number of restrictions on entry into Russia.”

Al Jazeera’s Hashem Ahelbarra, reporting from Moscow, said Russia was trying to “send a message of resilience” while claiming it had been “targeted” by the West and NATO for some time.

Russia claims NATO has tried to expand what Moscow describes as a “hostile belt” around the country, Ahelbarra said, and added that Lavrov called Western sanctions and asset freezes a “campaign of West to discredit Russia”.

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