Vesti’s Media Office in Kiev Raided by National Police and Military Prosecutors
On July 14, the prosecutors General’s office and the national police searched the offices of Ukraine’s Vesti media group in Kiev which includes Radio Vesti, the daily newspaper Vesti, and the news website Vesti-ukr.com. The raid was conducted as part of an embezzlement investigation against ex-Tax and Revenue Minister Oleksandr Klymenko.
The area was cordoned and special police units and armored vehicles surrounded the building. Police officers completely obstructed the work of the editorial board. Chair of the Board of Directors of Media Holding Vesti Ukraine, Olga Semchenko, explained on a Facebook post that the radio station's live broadcast was interrupted during operation and that authorities rounded up 30 journalists in a room in order to question them and search their mobile phones.
According to Olga Semchenko, the searches are in retaliation from the Prosecutor’s office for a Vesti investigation into Chief Military Prosecutor Anatoly Matio’s income and expenses, titled “Who is Mr. Matios? What the Chief Military Prosecutor conceals”. “Government pressure is not new to us, but we haven’t seen such a major special operation yet,” she said.
Vesti’s offices have already been subjected to several attacks since 2014 and more recently in February 2017 the National Council for Television and Radio Broadcasting of Ukraine revoked the license of the Ukrainian broadcasting company “Radio Vesti” in Kharkiv city and Kiev.