Russia bans news outlet Bellingcat, labels it a security threat

Bellingcat founder Eliot Higgins

© APA | Bellingcat founder Eliot Higgins

# 15 July 2022 12:03 (UTC +04:00)

Russia on Friday banned investigative news outlet Bellingcat and its main local partner from operating inside the country, branding them security threats, APA reports citing Reuters.

Netherlands-based Bellingcat exposed the Russian-backed soldiers behind the downing of Malaysian Airlines jet MH17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014 and unmasked FSB agents sent to poison Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny in 2020.

Russia's Prosecutor General said the activities of Bellingcat its partner The Insider "posed a threat to... the security of the Russian federation."

Both will be added to Russia's "undesirable" list, which bans them from operating in Russia and makes cooperating with them illegal for Russian organisations and individuals, he said in a statement.

Bellingcat founder Eliot Higgins dismissed the ban, writing on Twitter: "Bellingcat has no legal, financial or staff presence (in Russia), so it's unclear how Russia expects to enforce this."

The Insider is legally headquartered in Latvia, a move designed to protect it from Russian authorities.