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Ukraine Investigates Assault On Journalists During Interview With Bank Executive

KYIV -- Ukrainian authorities say they have launched an investigation into an assault on journalists of the Skhemy (Schemes) program during an interview with Ukreksimbank chief Yevhen Metsher in Kyiv.

The National Police have launched a probe into obstruction of the journalists' work, the force said on October 5, a day after the incident in Metsher's office.

The incident started when Kyrylo Ovsyaniy -- a reporter for Skhemy, a joint investigative project by RFE/RL and UA: Pershy television -- asked Metsher a question that angered the bank executive as part of an investigation that the journalists plan to make pubic soon.

Metsher instructed security personnel to stop the journalists and take their cameras and video materials away, after which physical force was used against cameraman Oleksandr Mazur to forcibly seize his two cameras and memory cards.

The journalists were allowed to leave the office after the interview was deleted from their memory cards.

The head of Ukreksimbank's press service, Volodymyr Pikalov, was also present during the incident.

Ovsyaniy recorded the incident with an audio device, and posted the clip on YouTube.

In a statement on Facebook, the bank did not address allegations that force was used against journalists.

The statement said the press service was "forced to stop the interview" because the questions were related to information about clients, which it said the bank did not have the right to provide to journalists.

It said the journalists also "made assumptions about alleged violations committed by the bank."

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    RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service has seen its audience grow significantly since Russia's full-scale invasion in February 2022 and is among the most cited media outlets in the country. Its bold, in-depth reporting from the front lines has won many accolades and awards. Its comprehensive coverage also includes award-winning reporting by the Donbas.Realities and Crimea.Realities projects and the Schemes investigative unit.

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