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Russia arrests head of Ukrainian library for anti-Russian propaganda

Russia has detained the head a Ukrainian library in Moscow on charges of inciting hatred. The arrest marks a further low point in Ukraine-Russia relations.

Natalya Sharina, 58, was arrested after a search of the library found books and written material by far-right Ukrainian nationalist author Dmitry Korchynsky, whose books are banned in Russia.

Investigators said on Thursday that Sharina, who has headed the Moscow library of Ukrainian literature since 2011, had distributed books containing "anti-Russian propaganda."

She was charged with inciting hatred and violating human dignity.

Korchynsky is a controversial Ukrainian nationalist who helped set up the far-right extremist UNA-UNSO party and later established the radical Bratstvo (Brotherhood), an ultra-nationalist Christian Orthodox group.

He played a roll in turning peaceful protests into violent clashes during the Euromaidan protests that ousted Kremlin-backed former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych last year. Some have accused Korchynsky of being an agent provocateur.

The arrest marks

another low point in Ukraine-Russia relations

after Yanukovych's ouster, Russia's annexation of Crimea and continued fighting between pro-Russia rebels and the government in Kyiv.

Ukraine protested the arrest.

"This is not the first attempt by the Kremlin to label all things Ukrainian 'Russophobic' and 'extremist,'" the Ukranian foreign ministry said.

"We call on the Russian authorities to halt pressure on the work of the library -- a cultural center of a thousands-strong Ukrainian community."

The Moscow library of Ukrainian literature was established by the government of Moscow and gets funding from the city.

cw/kms (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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