Kyrgyz TV Station Director Detention Over Report On Ukraine War Extended

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BISHKEK -- A Kyrgyz court has extended the pretrial detention of the director of the Next television channel after he was arrested over the airing of a controversial report in which an interviewee alleged the existence of an agreement between Bishkek and Moscow to send troops to assist Russian armed forces in the war against Ukraine.

The television station's owner, Ravshan Jeenbekov, said on Facebook that the Birinchi Mai district court in Bishkek ruled on May 29 to extend Taalai Duishembiev's detention by one month. His original detention was set to expire on June 3.

The State Committee for National Security (UKMK) launched a probe against the TV channel in early March, accusing it of inciting ethnic hatred.

The report in question quoted the exiled former chief of the Committee for National Security (KNB) of neighboring Kazakhstan, Alnur Musaev, as saying that Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan had agreed to support Moscow's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine by sending troops to help Russia.

There has been no evidence of Tajik or Kyrgyz troops fighting in Ukraine since the invasion was launched on February 24.

Jeenbekov, has rejected the charge, insisting that the report was balanced, as it quoted Musaev directly while giving other people's views on the issue as well.

The Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry has rejected the report and called on local media outlets to base their reporting on the ongoing war in Ukraine solely on official government statements.

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