Photo from UNIAN

First Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine Emine Dzhaparova has called on the international community to up pressure on the Russian Federation toward the release of civic journalists in the occupied Crimea.

Dzhaparova took part in a ministerial meeting of member countries of the Media Freedom Coalition, set up by Canada and UK, according to the foreign ministry's press service.

Dzhaparova stressed the critical situation with freedom of media in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine.

"Due to repression and threats to life by Russian occupation authorities, independent journalists were forced to flee the occupied parts of Donbas and Crimea," she said.

Read alsoKuleba: Donbas, Crimea to be among priorities of Sweden's OSCE chairmanship in 2021"To fill the vacuum of coverage of the real situation on the Crimean peninsula, ordinary citizens started performing the functions of independent media, and also faced repression. Nine civic journalists, Crimean Tatars, are now behind bars: Server Mustafayev, Timur Ibragimov, Marlen Asanov, Seyran Saliev, Remzi Bekirov, Ruslan Suleymanov, Osman Arifmemetov, Rustem Sheikhaliev, and Amet Suleymanov. I call on the international community to increase pressure on Russia to ensure their release," Dzhaparova said.

She also drew attention to the experience that Ukraine has accumulated over the years of fighting Russian disinformation. The First Deputy Foreign Minister invited international partners to support the initiative of the President of Ukraine to open the headquarters of an international office for countering disinformation in Kyiv.

Read alsoUkraine's Foreign Ministry: Russia not to escape responsibility for Kerch incidentMemo

The Media Freedom Coalition was formed in July 2019 at the Global Conference for Media Freedom. It is a partnership of countries working together to advocate for media freedom and safety of journalists and hold to account those who harm journalists for doing their job.