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Kremlin warning prompts Russian newspaper to suspend operations

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Kremlin warning prompts Russian newspaper to suspend operations
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Moscow: Until the end of Moscow's military action in Ukraine, Novaya Gazeta, Russia's top independent newspaper, has suspended publication. The paper's editor was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last year.

Chief editor Dmitry Muratov described the decision as a "tough" one, suggesting it was an attempt to save the respected publication.

"For us and, I know, for you, this is a terrible and difficult decision. But we need to save us for each other," he said in a statement.

After more than a month of military operations in pro-Western Ukraine, the Kremlin announced that it would extend the campaign.

The newspaper said in a statement that it had received another warning from Roskomnadzor, Russia's media regulator.

"We are suspending publication of the newspaper on our website, on social media and in print -- until the end of the 'special operation in Ukraine'," it said.

As the only major newspaper left in the country that criticizes President Vladimir Putin and his tactics at home and abroad, Novaya Gazeta was founded in 1993 by former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

Novaya Gazeta staff learned early Monday that the state communications regulator Roskomnadzor had issued its second warning since last week.

"We don't have any copies of the warning," Nadezhda Prusenkova, a Novaya Gazeta spokesperson, told AFP. "We heard about it "from news sources."

Two warnings by the communications watchdog in a year can lead to a court order shutting down a media outlet.

Roskomnadzor said last week Novaya Gazeta had failed to designate in accordance with Russian law the NGO mentioned in one of its stories as a "foreign agent."

In Russia, independent media outlets and non-governmental organizations have been dubbed foreign agents due to the unprecedented crackdown on dissenting voices and independent journalism.

Associated with strong negative connotations and an increase in government scrutiny.

The newspaper itself has not been declared to be a "foreign agent".

Muratov was one of two individuals who shared the Nobel Peace Prize last year with Maria Ressa of the Philippines for their efforts "to promote freedom of expression."

According to Muratov, the paper decided last week to donate the gold medal to a fund to assist refugee Ukrainians.

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TAGS:Press Freedom Media Russia 
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