The decree Russian President Vladimir Putin signed yesterday making the information about the attrition of Russian armed forces during “peacetime” a state secret could be used to prosecute journalists trying to cover the war in Ukraine independently.
This statement was made on May 28 by the international human rights organization Amnesty International.
The new decree that prohibits disclosure of all information about loss of Russian troops “during special operations” in time of peace, was adopted as a response to accusing President Putin of sending military assistance to rebels in eastern Ukraine. Until now only the loss of Russian troops during the war were considered a state secret.
“This decree is not only a blatant attack on freedom of speech, it also has ominous hints that intensify speculation as to President Putin having something to hide – for instance, the loss incurred by the Russian army in Ukraine”, – said John Dalhuisen, director of Amnesty International in Europe and Central Asia.
“This step also increases anxiety for the safety of Russian media professionals and civil society activists who have already been subjected to harassment because of attempts to cover the conflict in Ukraine independently.” – added Dalhuisen.
Amnesty International stresses that Russian government has strengthened its control over the media in recent years, a number of media and journalists have suffered persecution because of the coverage of the conflict in Ukraine. In August last year, several journalists have experienced a series of separate attacks for trying to cover the secret funerals of Russian military servicemen who had been allegedly killed in Ukraine.
“This new decree raises some disturbing questions such as whether journalists and social activists might be prosecuted under “betrayal” for highlighting possible Russian military loss in Ukraine. Another consequence of this decree is that the families of servicemen killed during “special operations” will be deprived of the truth about the fate of their loved ones.”- said John Dalhuisen.
Also Amnesty International draws public attention to the fact that Kremlin repeatedly denied any involvement in the fighting on the territory of Ukraine, but satellite images and other evidence collected by Amnesty International provide an unequivocal proof of increasing Russian arms and artillery pool in eastern Ukraine and Russia inciting separatists for committing war crimes.
For your understanding, Putin has classified Russia’s military loss during peacetime.