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  Monday, June 17, 2019
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Russia's president said on Wednesday that Moscow would take action
Russia's president said on Wednesday that Moscow would take action to defend Russian-language media facing closure in countries with Russian speaking minorities.

Dmitry Medvedev, speaking at the International Congress of Russian Press in Moscow, said: "This is a sensitive issue, since it is about preserving a vital cultural and information environment for a large number of fellow Russians."

Russia must "be very attentive to the problems faced by the Russian-language media in both near and far-off countries, and support the most interesting and socially important projects in this area," he said.

"Russia cannot remain an indifferent bystander," he added.

Medvedev did not name any specific countries, but former Soviet republics have large communities of ethnic Russians, and the Kremlin has often claimed that their rights are being violated.

In late May, Moscow complained about Ukraine's plans to cut Russian TV channels from its cable television network.

Ukraine cautioned Russia earlier this month that it could stop translating Russian language channels over their alleged biased coverage of "sensitive bilateral issues." The warning came after Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov called for Ukraine's Crimean peninsula to be handed back to Russia.

Luzhkov has also been barred from entering Ukraine for "continuing to call for actions that threaten Ukraine's national interests and territorial integrity."

Language has been a contentious issue in relations between Russia and Ukraine, where some political groups have opposed the "Russification" of the country.

Russian is still widely spoken in Ukraine, especially in the east, the Crimea and the capital. Many people in Ukraine have never learnt to speak Ukrainian.


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