Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Maria Zakharova on Safety of Journalists, December 19, 2018.

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Last week, on December 15, Russia marked the Remembrance Day of Journalists Killed in the Line of Duty.

According to UNESCO, 94 journalists have been killed worldwide as a result of their professional activity since the beginning of 2018. This statistic includes both journalists covering military conflicts and those working during peacetime, defending the people’s right to receive reliable and urgent information.

The Russian Federation pays special attention to the safety of journalists, the problem of the impunity of those who commit crimes against them, and the prevention of such crimes. We are doing everything possible to bring to justice those who stand in the way of the professional activity of journalists. We monitor the violations against them and cooperate on these matters with international organisations like the OSCE and UNESCO.

We are rightfully concerned about the situation regarding the safety of journalists in Ukraine. Russia has repeatedly drawn the attention of the international community to the dangerous trends there that lead to censorship and gross violations of journalists’ rights, including their physical elimination.

There is still no progress in the investigation into the murders of journalists Anatoly Klyan, Anton Voloshin, Igor Kornelyuk, Andrei Stenin, Andrea Rocchelli, Oles Buzina, Sergey Dolgov, Vyacheslav Veremiy, Pavel Sheremet and others. Journalists in Ukraine continue to be physically abused, at the instigation of the official Kiev, which long ago embarked on the path of repression of the media and the silencing of dissent.

We urge the relevant international agencies and human rights non-profit organisations to react and condemn all forms of pressure on the media by the Ukrainian government, including the elimination of unwanted journalists.

We consider the December decision of the OSCE Foreign Ministers Council on the safety of journalists a breakthrough. The organisation demonstrated to the professional journalistic community its commitment to defend the interests of journalists.