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Russian radio station off air in Moscow

A Russian radio station critical of the Kremlin has been taken off the airwaves, its chief editor says, after authorities threatened to shut it down over the coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The move against Ekho Moskvy, one of Russia’s oldest radio stations, comes amid growing pressure on Russia’s independent media to follow the Kremlin’s official line while covering the invasion of Ukraine.

Officials also threatened to block Dozhd or TV Rain, Russia’s top independent television channel.

The Prosecutor General’s office accused the two media outlets of spreading content that incites extremist activities as well as “false information regarding the actions of Russian military personnel as part of a special operation” in Ukraine.

Shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine on Thursday, Russian officials threatened independent media with closure if their coverage of the attack deviated from the official narrative, including describing the assault as an “invasion” or a “war”.

Russia rejects the term invasion, says its actions are not designed to occupy territory but to destroy Ukraine’s military capabilities and capture what it regards as dangerous nationalists – a pretext rejected by Ukraine as propaganda.

Ekho Moskvy editor Alexei Venediktov, one of Russia’s best known journalists, wrote on his Telegram social media channel: “Ekho Moskvy has been taken off air.”

On its website, which went down for a short time but later was accessible again, Ekho Moskvy said the accusations against it were baseless and offensive, and it would fight them in the courts.

Ekho Moskvy has been one of the few remaining liberal media that the Kremlin has tolerated until now.

with reporting from Reuters

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