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Estonian police arrest citizen who reported for Russian state media

by Dmytro Basmat March 28, 2024 3:16 AM 2 min read
Illustrative purposes: Police officers arrest a demonstrator during a protest against coronavirus restrictions at the Freedom Square in Tallinn, Estonia on April 11, 2021. (Raigo Pajula/AFP via Getty Images)
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Estonian police have arrested Svetlana Burceva, an Estonian citizen, for allegedly violating international sanctions having served as a reporter for Russian state sponsored Balt News - an arm of the Kremlin-run Russia Today (RT) news outlet, Estonian publication Eesti Ekspress reported on March 27.

The European Union imposed sanctions against RT in March 2022, following Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Burceva, who allegedly wrote articles and took photographs for the Russian state media publication, was arrested on March 1 after Estonia's State Prosecutor's Office filed a motion for Burceva's arrest on Feb. 29.

The case only became public on March 27 after Burceva's lawyer motioned for her release from custody pending trial. Burceva, aged 57, has been remanded in custody since her arrest to prevent the accused from fleeing the country.

Harju County Court in Tallinn will hold a bail hearing early next month, according to ERR News.

Prior to working for Balt News, Burceva reportedly worked for Sputnik Eesti - which seized operations in 2019 after law enforcement officials threatened to prosecute its staff members under EU sanctions.

Russian state sponsored media outlets have been instrumental in promoting pro-Russian propaganda since the start of the full-scale invasion.

Besides the European Union, RT was suspended from being broadcast on airwaves in countries around the world, including in Canada and Australia. The video streaming service Youtube also blocked RT and other Russian channels from generating ad revenue in March 2022.

Estonia has long been concerned about undue influence from Russia, being on the far eastern flank of NATO and having a considerable ethnic Russian minority. On Jan. 16, Estonian authorities arrested a professor with Russian citizenship on charges of allegedly spying for Russia.

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