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    US criticizes Russia ahead of Trump-Putin meet

    13 de julio de 2018

    Washington DC, Jul 13 (efe-epa).- The United States has denounced the ongoing pattern of intimidation and violence against those who express dissent across Russia, shortly ahead of the meeting scheduled to be held between the US president and his Russian counterpart.

    "The United States remains troubled by the ongoing pattern of intimidation and violence against those who express dissent across Russia, including independent journalists, members of the political opposition, and civil society," said the US Department of State in a statement released Thursday.

    Washington released the statement "in honor" of journalists Natalya Estemirova and Paul Klebnikov, killed in 2009 and 2004, respectively.

    Estemirova, a human rights activist, was kidnapped and killed in Chechnya, while Klebnikov, a US national, was murdered "likely in retaliation for reporting on official corruption and graft," according to the statement.

    "Neither the killers nor those who ordered these crimes have been brought to justice," Washington said.

    The Donald Trump Administration called for "an end to the impunity for human rights abuses in Chechnya and elsewhere in Russia" and showed its support for "brave journalists and human rights defenders in Russia and around the world."

    Last week, the US Department of State released another statement condemning eroding press freedom in Russia over approval of legislation in the Duma to extend the "foreign agent" designation from media outlets to individual people taking part in the creation of materials for media.

    "This bill could provide the Russian government a new tool to target independent journalists and bloggers in retaliation for their work," the earlier statement read.

    Fresh criticism comes amid Trump's visit to Europe and just four days ahead of his upcoming meeting with Vladimir Putin scheduled for Jul. 16 in Helsinki.