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Latvia probes into exiled Russian TV over help to Moscow troops

Statements made by the independent Russian TV station Dozhd raised suspicions it was helping Moscow troops taking part in the Ukraine war and triggered a probe by Latvia’s state security service on Friday.

Dozhd, or TV Rain, is broadcasting from Latvia and elsewhere after Russian authorities forced the closure of its Moscow studio on the grounds it had deliberately spread false information about the actions of Russia’s troops in Ukraine.

The state security service said that on Thursday, a moderator on a Dozhd news broadcast had expressed hope the station had already helped provide many Russian soldiers with basic equipment and amenities.

It is unclear whether the statement meant the TV station helped improve their conditions through their reporting or if it took an active part in procuring said equipment.

“The statements … raise suspicion about the TV channel providing assistance to the soldiers of Russia’s occupying forces,” it said in a news release.

“Considering the crimes committed by the Russian occupation forces against Ukraine and its people, any material or financial assistance to the aggressor country is illegal and may involve criminal liability for financing war and terrorism,” the statement said.

Dozhd was also fined €10,000 on Friday for broadcasting a map showing Crimea, annexed by Moscow, as part of Russia, the national electronic media council said.

Latvia, a small former Soviet republic with a sizeable Russian-speaking minority, has been among the strongest critics of the invasion.

The service said it had repeatedly warned policymakers about the challenges “emanating from Russia’s so-called independent media relocating their activity to Latvia”, saying they posed intelligence risks.

Dozhd did not respond to an email seeking a reaction to the service’s statement.

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