Investigative journalist says he left Russia in middle of the night after crackdown on media

The investigations editor at news site Meduza says he left Russia in the middle of the night after the signing into law of a bill that criminalizes the intentional spreading of what Moscow deems to be “fake” reports.

“Never thought it’d come to this, but I did have to leave Russia, crossing the border on foot in the middle of the night, with my panic-packed bags on my back and my dog in tow,” tweets Alexey Kovalyov.

“Felt a massive door slam shut behind my back. Barely had enough time to call my parents. Crazy times,” he says.

Russian authorities have repeatedly and falsely decried reports of Russian military setbacks or civilian deaths in Ukraine as “fake” news.

State media outlets refer to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a “special military operation” rather than a war or an invasion.

Russia has now blocked five foreign media organizations based abroad that publish news in Russian. The organizations are the BBC, the US government-funded Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle and Latvia-based website Meduza.

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