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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kommersant Vlast Accused of Divulging Military Secrets

A federal media watchdog said Wednesday that it had issued a warning to Kommersant Vlast, the influential news magazine, for divulging military secrets in a report about the Strategic Rocket Forces.

The report, a reference guide published in December, contained technical data on Russian missiles, the locations of missile bases and biographical information about the forces' top commanders.

Vlast, which is part of the Kommersant publishing house, said it is accused of disclosing the classified locations of missile units.

The magazine denied wrongdoing, saying in a statement that the information used in the report had come from public sources, including the Defense Ministry's official newspaper, Krasnaya Zvezda.

Under Russian law, a media outlet can be closed by a court if it receives two warnings within 12 months.

The Federal Press and Mass Communication Agency issued the warning to Vlast in mid-March, spokesman Mikhail Vorobyov said.

“We received an expert evaluation from the Defense Ministry that part of the information published in the magazine contained state secrets, so we reacted according to the law,” Vorobyov told The Moscow Times.

Vlast vowed to challenge the watchdog's decision in court.

The Defense Ministry's press service declined immediate comment Wednesday.

Vlast has published other reference guides, including on the branches of power in Russia and even on prisons around the world.

In 2002, prosecutors opened a criminal case against Vlast after the Defense Ministry accused it of divulging classified data in a reference guide on the army. A Moscow court later dismissed the case, saying Vlast had done nothing wrong.