Journalist sought by Russia ordered to pay defamation damage

MOSCOW (AP) — A Russian court has ordered an investigative journalist to pay 156,000 rubles ($2,155) in compensation to a Dutch blogger who he alleged has ties to the Russia’s military intelligence agency.

The court also ordered Roman Dobrokhotov to refute the tweet in which he made the claim. The decision Wednesday comes as authorities are seeking to detain Dobrokhotov on charges of illegally crossing the border into Ukraine.

Dobrokhotov is editor-in-chief of The Insider, a Latvia-based news site that Russia this summer added to its foreign agent registry as part of a crackdown on independent news media.

Dutch blogger Max van der Werff filed a defamation suit after Dobrokhotov claimed he was cooperating with Russian military intelligence to spread alternative narratives about the 2014 shootdown of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over a section of eastern Ukraine controlled by Russia-backed rebels.

International investigators say Russia provided an anti-aircraft missile launcher that shot down the plane, killing all 298 people aboard. Russia denies involvement and had put forth several other explanations.

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