Kremlin censors Zelenskyy’s interview with Russian journalists

Four prominent Russian journalists interviewed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for a news story – only to see the Kremlin blocked the broadcast, according to a report.

Zelenskyy spoke via Zoom with Tikhon Dzyadko, Mikhail Zygar and other independent Russian journalists for about 90 minutes on Sunday.

According to an excerpt of the interview, posted to Twitter by CNN reporter Bianna Golodryga, Zelenskyy said Russian President Vladimir Putin did not expect the Ukrainian military to put up such strong resistance to the invasion of his country.

Putin ordered his military to invade Ukraine more than a month ago. Since then, the Russian army has been bogged down in the country after its initial pushes stalled.

According to Golodryga, Zelenskyi described the dire situation in the southern Ukrainian port of Mariupol, which has come under massive Russian bombardment.

Their city is under a Russian blockade, civilians cannot leave and the port is mined,” the Ukrainian leader said.

“It’s a humanitarian catastrophe. Given the ongoing bombardment, no food, medicine or water may be brought in…”

But the Russian news media were ordered by the government not to publish the interview, according to the New York Times.

Roskomnadzor, the Kremlin’s censorship arm, ordered the country’s media to ignore the interview. It also said it would investigate the journalists, most of whom are based outside Russia, to “determine their responsibilities.”

Vladimir Solovyov, one of the journalists who interviewed Zelenskyy, writes for the Moscow-based newspaper Kommersant, although it is unclear whether Solovyov was in Russia at the time he chaired the Zoom session with the Ukrainian leader.

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Since launching an invasion of Ukraine a month ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin has imposed a crackdown on his country’s media.
SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images

Since the invasion began, Putin’s government has effectively blacked out domestic media coverage of the war.

The Kremlin has signed a censorship law threatening jail terms for reporters who spread so-called “fake news” about the Russian military attack in Ukraine.

Most Western news outlets have either stopped reporting from the country or withdrawn their staff.

Russia's military has bombarded Ukrainian cities and towns with air and artillery bombardments.
Russia’s military has bombarded Ukrainian cities and towns with air and artillery bombardments.
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

As part of the crackdown on information, Putin also began restricting his compatriots’ access to social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

The law, which was quickly approved by both houses of the Kremlin-controlled parliament and signed by Putin, offers prison terms of up to 15 years for those who disseminate information that go against the Russian government’s account of the war. Kremlin censors Zelenskyy’s interview with Russian journalists


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