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Estonian branch of Russian news agency stops working after all employees resign, fearing prosecution

The news agency Sputnik Estonia, which is owned by the Russian state media conglomerate Russia Today, has ground to a halt after every one of its 35 employees resigned.

An announcement from Russia Today said the staff of Sputnik Estonia had been threatened with prosecution on the part of the Estonian government. “Unfortunately, experience dictates that despite the apparent absurdity of the Estonian government’s threats, criminal prosecution of journalists is a reality in today’s Europe,” the announcement said.

In December, Estonian police and border officials sent Sputnik Estonia a warning explaining that if its staff members did not resign, they could be prosecuted due to European Union sanctions against Russia. Russia Today CEO and Kremlin pundit Dmitry Kiselyov is among those on the EU’s sanctions list.

Vladimir Putin called the Estonian government’s actions cynical, and Russia Today vowed to bring Sputnik Estonia’s staff back to work without legal risks.

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