Berlin authorities investigate disabled device at residence housing Russian media

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FRANKFURT, May 7 (Reuters) – Berlin investigators and prosecutors investigated on Saturday a device found and destroyed in a residential building housing Russian news agency employees in the Steglitz district, Berlin authorities said.

The device was found on Friday and investigators were investigating how dangerous it was and who it was for, a Berlin police spokesman said in response to a morning inquiry.

A joint statement released by police and the city attorney in the afternoon said the possible motivation behind the placement of the device was now being investigated by the security department of the city. State of the Berlin Criminal Police Office and the Prosecutor’s Office.

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He identified the building as being in Lepsius Street in the southwestern district of Berlin.

The Russian Embassy in Berlin said a bottle was thrown through a window in the building on Friday evening and an improvised bomb was found during the subsequent search, which German sappers identified and disabled.

Russia’s state-run RIA news agency said journalists lived in the neighborhood.

The Russian Foreign Ministry on Saturday demanded that authorities in Germany and other European Union and NATO states take steps to protect Russian journalists and their families abroad.

“We see this as a direct result of the unleashed harassment of Russian media and their employees in the West,” its statement said. “The politicized decision to disconnect Russian media from the airwaves of the European Union was the precursor to their physical intimidation, until their elimination.”

Video footage released by RIA on Friday night showed a cordoned off street and a person in protective gear, who the agency said was one of the sappers working to defuse the bomb.

Various Russian broadcasters have been banned in Western countries after being accused of broadcasting propaganda in connection with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a “special operation” to disarm the country and protect it from fascists. Ukraine and the West say the fascist allegation is baseless and that the war is an unprovoked act of aggression.

Russian state-controlled outlets RT and Sputnik were banned across the European Union on March 2.

“The Kremlin’s systematic manipulation and disinformation of information is being applied as an operational tool in its assault on Ukraine,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said at the time.

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Reporting by Vera Eckert and Reuters bureaus; edited by Kirsten Donovan and Clelia Oziel

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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