Natalia Sharina: Russian police detain Ukrainian library director for ‘inciting ethnic hatred’

Ukraine’s foreign ministry lodges protest after police detain Ms Sharina and confiscate books and documents deemed to spread 'anti-Russian propaganda'

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The Independent Online

The director of Moscow’s Library of Ukrainian Literature has been detained by police on suspicion of inciting ethnic hatred, marking the latest in a series of spats between the two countries.

Natalia Sharina, who has headed the library since 2011, was detained by police after they searched the library, confiscating books and documents deemed to spread “anti-Russian propaganda”.

An investigative committee accuses Ms Sharina of violating the law on “Countering Extremist Activity” for stocking books by the Ukrainian activist Dmytro Korchynsky, which are banned in Russia .  

Ukraine’s foreign ministry lodged a protest against the Russian police following Ms Sharina’s detention. It said the investigation was “not the first attempt by the Kremlin to attach labels of ‘Russophobia’ and ‘extremism’ on everything Ukrainian”. Mr Korchynsky is a controversial figure in both Russia and Ukraine, and considered by the Kremlin to be a fierce critic of Russia.

The writer, who is currently in Ukraine, told  the Russian newspaper Kommersant that he was “taken aback” by the arrest.

Mikhail Fedotov, who heads Russia’s presidential human rights council, said he was monitoring the situation. “We expect chefs at restaurants serving Ukrainian cuisine to be arrested next,” he said.