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The U.S. State Department blasted Russia’s crackdown on protesters and journalists, saying 15,000 Russians have been detained by authorities for expressing their opposition to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Watch the briefing in the player above.
“Despite Putin’s crackdown on free media and his government’s continued peddling of blatant lies,” said State Department Spokesman Ned Price, “We have seen many Russians bravely stand up against Putin’s war, including on state run TV.”
Price was referring to the Russian state television employee who interrupted a live news program Monday by holding up a large sign that read, “no war” and “Russians against the war.”
The employee, Marina Ovsyannikova, of Russia’s state-run Channel One, was ordered to pay a fine by a Russian court Tuesday.
Moscow has taken a sweeping effort to cut independent sources of information about the war, imposing blocks on the BBC Russian service, the U.S. government-funded Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle and Latvia-based website Meduza.
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“The people of Russia have a right to know about the thousands and thousands of casualties that the Russian Federation’s forces are taking right now in Ukraine, as well as the civilian casualties and the widespread destruction of civilian infrastructure Putin is inflicting on the people of Ukraine,” Price said.
Price also offered condolences after two journalists working for Fox News were killed and another seriously injured in Ukraine when the vehicle they were traveling in outside of Kyiv came under fire.
The network announced the attack. It said its video journalist, Pierre Zakrzewski, and Ukrainian journalist Oleksandra “Sasha” Kuvshynova were killed in the incident in Horenka that also left reporter Benjamin Hall hospitalized.
“Many of you knew Pierre, who was renowned for his talent documenting conflict zones around the world,” Price said.
“Our thoughts are with Pierre’s loved ones, his family and all of us here at the department are rooting for Ben and rooting for his speedy recovery.”
Zakrzewski, who was based in London, had covered conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria for Fox, the network said in a memo to staff Tuesday morning. Kuvshynova was a 24-year-old consultant helping Fox’s crews navigate the Kyiv area.
The deaths of the journalists followed the death in Ukraine of well-known documentary filmmaker Brent Renaud.
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