Berlin police investigate device disabled in home with Russian media

FRANKFURT, May 7 (Reuters) – Berlin detectives and prosecutors on Saturday examined a device found and destroyed in a residential building with staff from a Russian news agency in the Steglitz district, police said.

The device was found Friday and investigators are investigating how dangerous it had been and who it was aimed at, a Berlin police spokesman said in response to an investigation. He added that there would be further updates later on Saturday.

The Russian embassy in Berlin said a bottle had been thrown through a window of the apartment building Friday night and that the subsequent search found an improvised bomb, which German sappers had identified and deactivated.

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The Russian state news agency RIA said journalists lived in the block.

Russia’s foreign ministry on Saturday demanded that authorities in Germany and other European Union and NATO countries take steps to protect Russian journalists and their families abroad.

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

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

Several Russian broadcasters have been banned in Western countries after being accused of spreading propaganda related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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

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

“Systematic information manipulation and disinformation by the Kremlin is being used as an operational tool in its attack on Ukraine,” EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said at the time.

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Reporting by Vera Eckert and Reuters agencies; adaptation by Kirsten Donovan and Clelia Oziel

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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