Russia forbids media from publishing Zelenskyy interview News
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Russia forbids media from publishing Zelenskyy interview

Russian communications watchdog Roskomnadzor Sunday issued a directive prohibiting all Russian media outlets from publishing an interview of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. It also announced that the extent of responsibility of all Russian media outlets including those featured on Russia’s “foreign agent” list for conducting the interview will be scrutinised.

“Roskomnadzor warns the Russian media to refuse to publish this interview,” the statement said without providing any reasons. 

The interview that Zelenskyy gave to Russian journalists is his first interaction with Russian media since the invasion of Ukraine last month. The banned interview has found its way to the internet. According to independent media, in the 90-minute conversation, Zelenskyy touched upon Russia’s motivation for the aggression, escalation of the situation, attempts to assassinate him and the hope for fruitful negotiations.

On Russia’s reasons for invading Ukraine, Zelenskyy said, “it’s about the loss of the influence of the Russian language. Putin has lost several million Russian speakers . . . [S]econd, it’s about Ukraine’s success. Everyone understands that such an active and hard-working nation will manage.” Zelensky believes that the events of the past month mark a watershed moment in global history and the conflict is no longer just a war. He said his goal is to “minimize the victim count, end the war as soon as possible and withdraw the Russian troops to ‘compromise’ territories.”

On negotiations, Zelenskyy said that Ukraine’s priority is a serious international treaty to resolve all conflicts once and for all. “We are ready to do this,” he said. He also stressed the importance of a referendum for Ukraine’s neutral status.

On March 4, President Putin signed amendments to the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, which sought to protect the truth about the “special military operation in Ukraine.” The law has been dubbed a “total information blackout” by UN experts. The federal law introduced criminal liability for the public dissemination of deliberately misleading information and discrediting the use of the Russian Federation Armed Forces.