Moscow seeks to lift Ukraine's ban on Russian TV channels : Lavrov

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Moscow, Nov 1 (UNI) Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov today said the country will do everything possible to ensure that Russian TV channels reappear on Ukrainian television screens.

''We will protect the broadcasting rights of our TV companies in line with common practice in Ukraine, and thereby insist on respecting the rights of Ukraine's Russian-speaking population, which must have access to all media,'' Mr Lavrov said here.

He was referring to the ban by Ukraine's television and radio broadcasting authority the transmission of Russian TV channels not adapted to Ukrainian television as of November 1.

The Foreign Ministry earlier voiced its concern over Kiev's decision, warning the ban would harm bilateral relations.

Mr Lavrov said although he did not want to draw a parallel with Georgia, a similar ban was imposed in the South Caucasus state, for political reasons, after the five-day conflict over South Ossetia in August.

''Ukrainian authorities say our companies do not comply with Ukrainian laws. If this is true and there is no politics involved, this issue can be resolved through negotiations,'' he added, stressing that Russian TV companies are ready for talks.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, language has been a contentious issue in relations between the two former Soviet republics.

The Russian language does not have official status in Ukraine, but is widely spoken, especially in eastern Ukraine, the Crimean Peninsula and Kiev.

A large share of the population speak Ukrainian as a second language, and many speak only Russian.

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